After a huge win at the Australian Open over Rafa Nadal (UTR 16.17), Novak Djokovic is poised for a stellar year in 2019. Some might say this is new territory for him, particularly compared to his 2018 season. But UTR shows a different story - Djokovic has always maintained a spot at the top of the pack and his rise to No.1 has been many months in the making. Let's take a look at his 2018 season and his path to No. 1:
- January, 2018: Novak's UTR was among the top three highest in the world the beginning of 2018, even through he was unable to play in 2017 after Wimbledon. His UTR reflected his strong results when he did play, particularly during the 2017 clay court season, reaching the quarters in Monte Carlo, Semis in Madrid and Finals in Rome. However his ATP ranking dropped at the start of the 2018 season because he didn't accumulate enough points in 2017 due to his post-Wimbledon injury.
- June, 2018: Novak dropped out of the ATP Top-20 because he failed to defend his points in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome. However, his UTR remained among the top 6 in the world.
- July, 2018: Novak's widest UTR/ATP disparity occurred at the start of the grass court season, where he had one of the top-4 highest UTR ratings but was ranked at No. 21 by the ATP. By the end of the grass court season, Novak had the second-highest UTR in the world and jumped to No. 10 in the ATP rankings.
- September, 2018: Wins at the US Open and Western-Southern Open boosted Novak's UTR to the world's highest.
- November 2018: Novak secured enough ATP points for his ranking to catch up to his UTR.
For more, check out Universal Tennis CEO & Chairman Mark Leschly's interview with Martina Navratilova on Tennis Channel (pro tip - start at 2:35 for the Novak analysis!)