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Fight for the top spot: Alcaraz vs Djokovic

Alcaraz vs Djokovic

The struggle for the world No. 1 ranking position between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic in 2023 has been one of the most talked-about aspects of their developing rivalry. Alcaraz had previously lost it after falling to the Serb in the French Open, but he later regained it with his first-ever victory on a grass court at the Queen’s and later successfully defended it with an incredible Wimbledon title haul. Cincinnati Masters, however, sets the ground for a new competition for the top ranking between the two after the surprise early exit from Canadian Open. Prior to the start of his campaign, Alcaraz smiled while discussing his challenge in the pre-tournament press conference.

“I enjoy those conflicts. I appreciate the idea that I can lose something while also gaining it back. Naturally, you have to enjoy yourself when you’re competing against Novak, one of the all-time greats in our sport, Alcaraz remarked. “I believe that I am his major adversary. It’s insane for me, and I’m trying to appreciate it.

Although Alcaraz improved upon his performance at the Canadian Open after losing in the second round of the Montreal tournament last year, he only managed to get 180 points, which puts Djokovic 600 points ahead of him in the standings (9,395 to 8,795). The 20-year-old, who advanced to the quarterfinals last year, will be defending 180 points in Ohio, whereas Djokovic, who will be competing for the first time since 2019, has no points to defend.

If Alcaraz loses before the quarterfinals, Djokovic might leave the Cincinnati Masters as the No. 1 player in the world even if he only makes it to the championship match. Alcaraz needs to make it to the final in order to deprive the Serb the top spot before the US Open.

Alcaraz advised setting goals for oneself during the season and at every competition. “And for now, my major objective is to maintain the top spot and, if I lose it, to strive to regain it as soon as possible. It really helped me to perform at my peak in the major competitions.

Alcaraz will take part in the Masters 1000 competition for the third time. He had to make it through the qualifying rounds two years ago in order to enter the main draw. And the previous year, he was denied the chance to advance farther after falling to Cameron Norrie in a thrilling quarterfinal match. The four-time ATP 1000 champion is still holding out hope for a turn around in Ohio this year, though, before moving on to New York to prepare for his championship defense at the US Open.

Since last year, a lot of things have changed. This is my first day here, and I feel that the event has matured significantly, said Alcaraz. I appreciated this exercise because it was my first one this morning. All of the spectators were present and delighted in the drill. I’m enjoying my time in Cincinnati so far.

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