New world number three Andy Murray hit back at number four Novak Djokovic on Thursday after the Serb said the current rankings system was cruel. Djokovic was leapfrogged by Murray in the rankings on Monday despite landing a second title of the year in Belgrade at the weekend and reaching the last three Masters Series finals.
“There always seem to be problems and now it’s obviously the rankings,” Murray told a news conference after beating Tommy Robredo in the third round of the Madrid Open. It’s great that Novak’s done well the last few weeks but the first three or four months of the year I played a lot better than him so I think the rankings reflect very well how the guys are playing. Until this week I’ve never heard anyone complain. I think maybe only in the last week it’s become a problem for Novak.”
Players on the ATP tour have to defend the points they earned during the same week a year earlier, so the reigning champion at an event can only maintain his points tally, not improve it. “Playing three Masters Series finals in a row and winning a 250 event is incredible success and even then you are dropping a spot down in the rankings,” Djokovic said on Wednesday. “That shows how cruel the ranking system is in this sport.”