Alcaraz eager to reclaim top ranking from Djokovic

Feb 16, 2023

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BACK ON COURT. Carlos Alcaraz returns to action hoping to flash his old form.

Juan Medina/Reuters

After slipping to No. 2 due to an injury layoff, Spaniard teen Carlos Alcaraz plans to wrest the top spot again from Novak Djokovic

A near four-month stint on the sidelines saw Carlos Alcaraz lose the world No. 1 ranking to Novak Djokovic and as the Spaniard returns to the court at the Argentina Open, he says he is determined to get it back.

Alcaraz climbed to the top of the ATP rankings in September after winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open but a torn abdominal muscle during the Paris Masters in November put the 19-year-old out of action.

After 20 weeks at the top, Alcaraz slipped to No. 2 in January when Djokovic won the Australian Open, an event the Spaniard had to skip due to injury.

“It’s a great feeling to win again. It’s been a long time for me with no competition, with no matches, just recovering. Finally I got my first win of 2023,” said Alcaraz, who began his season in Buenos Aires with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win over Serbia’s Laslo Djere on Wednesday, February 17 (Thursday, February 16, Manila time).  

“It has been a long time (I spent) at No. 1,” he said. “Now it’s a goal for me to recover No. 1 and try to do my best in these tournaments to be back on that number. I’m looking for that.”

Alcaraz did not want to put too much expectation on himself in his first tournament since November.

“I’m feeling great. I’m getting used to these conditions, to play with the best players, so at the moment I’m feeling well,” he said.

“It’s tough to play my first tournament after a long time for me, after four months.

“So it’s going to be really, really tough to win the tournament or be close to winning. My hope is to feel that I am okay with the injury, with my body and try to play well.” –

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