MADRID, Spain - Stan Wawrinka has an outside shot at doing something very, very big at the Mutua Madrid Open this week - something no one outside the Big Four has done in almost 12 years.
If Wawrinka wins the Masters 1000 tournament and Novak Djokovic loses before the quarterfinals, Wawrinka will move past Djokovic for the No.2 ranking, which would be a new career-high for him.
But there’s more.
Wawrinka would be the first non-Big Four player in the Top 2 since the week of July 18, 2005.
The Big Four has had a total monopoly on the Top 2 since the week of July 25, 2005.
That’s right, no one other than the Big Four - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - has been ranked inside the Top 2 on the ATP World Tour rankings since the week of July 18, 2005. Lleyton Hewitt was No.2 that week, and Nadal bumped him out the week after.
If Wawrinka doesn’t do it this week, there’s still hope for him at Roland Garros, where Djokovic will be defending title points (and Wawrinka semifinal points). They both lost early at Wimbledon last year.
But the window could be closing with Federer and Nadal both surging back towards the top of the rankings right now. Could one of them jump past Wawrinka to keep the Big Four’s Top 2 streak alive?
For now, though, all eyes are on Madrid. Djokovic and Wawrinka will play their opening matches on Wednesday, with Djokovic facing Nicolas Almagro and Wawrinka taking on Benoit Paire.
Tune in to Tennis Channel all week for coverage from the Spanish capital (check the listings here!)