Carlos Alcaraz has Novak Djokovic in his sights again after feisty comments

Carlos Alcaraz has lost some of his momentum since beating Novak Djokovic in a sensational Wimbledon final last summer, but he is determined to get back on track after some feisty comments in Argentina. 

Alcaraz beat Camilo Ugo Carabelli 6-2 7-5 in his first match since losing at the Australian Open to Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals, as he confirmed he will be a big threat on clay courts in 2024.

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz

Yet despite a dip in form and the rise of Italy’s Jannik Sinner up the tennis ladder after his Australian Open win last month, Alcaraz is thinking about his old rival Novak Djokovic once again.

The 24-time Grand Slam-winning legend has been the dominant player at the top of the ATP rankings for many years, yet Alcaraz knocked him off his perch for a brief period when Djokovic was blocked from entering tournaments due to his Covid vaccine status.

Now Alcaraz is ready to challenge for the No 1 ranking again, as he confirmed with these comments after his win against Carabelli.

“It’s a goal,” said Alcaraz when asked about returning to world No 1. “You have to set goals for yourself. I’m trying to move forward, to do it.

“There are great players fighting for the number one ranking. It’s going to be a good fight. Hopefully I recover it soon.”

Alcaraz’s hope of reclaiming the world No 1 ranking over the next few weeks appears to be forlorn, with Djokovic set to increase his lead at the top of the ATP list as he prepares to return to action at the Indian Wells tournament next month.

Djokovic was not allowed to enter America last year, so he has no ranking points to defend in a tournament that was won by Alcaraz in 2023.

So while 1,000 points will be dropping off Alcaraz’s rankings record when the Indian Wells event gets underway this year, he cannot improve on his current ranking points total.

Anything less than a win will see Alcaraz slide backwards in the rankings and he could be overtaken by Daniil Medvedev and a fasting rising Sinner in the battle for the No 2 spot.

Alcaraz’s best hope of overtaking Djokovic at the top of the ATP rankings may not come until the second half of 2024, as he has plenty of points to defend during the clay court season and he also have 2,500 points on his record from wins at the grass court events at the Queen’s Club in London and then at Wimbledon.

The good news for Alcaraz is Djokovic is no longer motivated by the battle to remain as world No 1, as he has dominated that list for more than 400 weeks.

“I aspire to be No 1, but for several years now I see it as a consequence of good results in the biggest possible tournaments, the Grand Slams,” he said last year.

“The priority is to stay healthy and in the best possible shape, in accordance with each of my segments on the court and outside of it.

“I know when I’m aligned and balanced I can win any tournament on any surface. That’s my biggest priority.”

Djokovic is on the entry list for both the ATP 1000 events at Indian Wells and then Miami a week later, but the 36-year-old has hinted he may not play back-to-back tournaments at this stage of his career so there may be some doubts over whether he will play in the second of the two tournaments.

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