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Ruud, Tsitsipas, and Djokovic could take over Alcaraz as World No.1: here’s how
Carlos Alcaraz, unable to compete at the Australian Open, could lose the throne as Casper Ruud, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas now have a shot at it.
Carlos Alcaraz may lose the throne while not being able to do a single thing about it! The Spaniard took over as World No.1 in the aftermath of his US Open 2022 triumph but his status as the boss of the Tour could not even last through the first month of this new season. He could be sent out of it right after this Australian Open 2023. Alcaraz, who suffered a right leg injury during his off-season, had to withdraw from the Australian Open and so the 19-year-old will lose the 90 points he won last year thanks to his Melbourne third round. When the Tour leaves Australia, Alcaraz will own 6730 points.
So who now has a shot at overthrowing the new wonderkid? Not Rafael Nadal. His compatriot stands at the second place of the ranking with 57770 points, sure, but he won the tournament in 2022 so he has 2000 points to defend and none to win. That is the price to pay when you are the titleholder. In this race for the throne, Casper Ruud is in the best position as the World No.3 doesn’t have a single point to defend in Melbourne, where he was unable to play last year due to injury: with 5720 points, he is 1010 points away from Alcaraz.
What should the US Open 2022 and ATP Finals finalist do in order to become the new World No.1 for the first time in his career? Actually, the scenario is quite straightforward: if Casper Ruud reaches the Australian Open final, facing anyone else but Stefanos Tsitsipas, he will take over Alcaraz. If the Greek yet happens to be on the other side of the net, then Ruud will have to win the title to also win the throne.
Tsitsipas and Djokovic have to go all the way
Things are also pretty clear for Stefanos Tsitsipas (4th) and Novak Djokovic (5th): they have to win the Australian Open to clinch the World No.1 spot. It is their only chance to eject Carlos Alcaraz from it. Tsitsipas, who was a semi-finalist in Melbourne last year, is virtually 1735 points away from the Spaniard: so reaching the semi-finals and their 1200 points won’t be enough, he needs the 2000 points allocated to the winner.
Novak Djokovic’s path is also simple, on paper. Unable to play here last year after his now infamous run-in with the Australian government, Djokovic is 1660 points away from Alcaraz. So he needs the 2000 points coming with the trophy if he wants to claim the throne back, for the first time since last June. It could play as extra motivation for Djokovic, who is chasing a 22nd Grand Slam title and so a 10th Australian Open trophy.
It’s the second Grand Slam in a row that will have an extra spark of suspense due to the race to the throne. At the US Open, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud fought for it in the final. And it could be the same in Melbourne if Djokovic and Ruud, who could battle it out in the semi-finals, were to face Tsitsipas in the last Sunday match.