Battle for world No 1 ranking: Can Carlos Alcaraz and co replace Novak Djokovic at top after Indian Wells?

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz joking

Novak Djokovic predicted that the battle for the world No 1 ranking will go back-and-forth over the next few years and that could well be the case in the next couple of weeks.

The world No 1 spot has already changed hands once this year as Djokovic replaced Carlos Alcaraz at the top of the ATP Rankings on the back of winning the Australian Open.

The past six weeks at No 1 has seen him take his overall tally to a record-extending 379 weeks and he will spend a 380th week at the top next week as the rankings will only be updated after Indian Wells.

Djokovic, though, knows the challengers are coming as he said: “They’re playing a lot of tournaments, a lot of weeks. I’m not playing as much, and I don’t plan to play as many weeks as they do.

“I guess eventually they’ll take the No 1, then I’ll bring it back again, then they’ll take it again, then we go in circles.”

The tennis great is helpless about what happens next as he won’t compete at the ATP Masters 1000 event in California due to his unvaccinated status.

That’s the bad news out of the way, but on the flip side only one player can replace him at the top after Indian Wells and that is Alcaraz with the Spaniard having quite a lot of work to do.

Djokovic starts this week with 7,160 points – 380 ahead of Alcaraz in second place and 1,390 points ahead of Stefanos Tsitsipas in third place and – with only 1,000 points on offer for the winner of the Indian Wells Open – it is mathematically impossible for the Greek to get to No 1.

Another positive for Djokovic is the fact that he also missed last year’s tournament as he was also not allowed to enter the United States and that means he won’t drop any points this week.

Alcaraz, though, will drop 350 points as he reached the semi-final in 2022 so that effectively give Djokovic 730-point advantage as the Spaniard starts on 6,430 points.

That means only a title run will be good enough for Alcaraz as the points are as follows for the latter stages of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments:

Quarter-final – 180 points
Semi-final – 360 points
Finalist – 600 points
Winner – 1,000 points

And even if Alcaraz does win the Indian Wells title, then his stay at the top could be short-lived as he is the reigning Miami Open champion so he will need to successfully defend his title if he is keep the world No 1 ranking.

If Tsitsipas does end up winning the Indian Wells Open then he will enter the debate for the world No 1 ranking at the Miami Open, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

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