Carlos Alcaraz’s Shanghai Masters draw revealed as he eyes Novak Djokovic’s No 1 ranking

Kevin Palmer
A delighted Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates a thrilling point

Carlos Alcaraz is looking to eat into Novak Djokovic’s lead at the top of the ATP rankings over the next couple of weeks and now he has learned his fate in the draw for the Shanghai Masters.

The tournament is back in China for the first time since the Covid-19 shutdown and with Djokovic opting to skip this section of the  season as he recovers after his US Open win, Alcaraz has an open door to make up ground in his effort to finish as world No 1 for a second successive season.

“We have really beautiful battle for the No. 1 spot after the great performance Djokovic had in the American season, let’s say. He’s the No. 1 right now,” said Alcaraz.

“I’m coming here to China with extra motivation to try to recover it in the race, of course, in the ranking. As I said, it’s something that I have in my mind every time I practice, in every tournament.

“Is not obligatory for me to recover that, but of course, you have to put the goals in the year. So for me, No 1 spot is one of the main goals for me.

“In these great tournaments, I’m looking to do great to be able to be close or recover that number.

“Then next year I’m looking to play the four Grand Slams. I hope to not miss any of them. I will try to do the same things that I’m doing this year.

“I could be more than happy if I won the same tournaments that I won so far of the results that I’m doing this year. That’s my goal for next year. That’s obvious.

“Right now I’m really happy with the level I’m playing, with the result I received so far. The year is not over. There are a few tournaments ahead. So hopefully to end that year as good as it started.”

READ MORE: Carlos Alcaraz matches another Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal record with latest win

With 1,000 ranking points up for grabs in Shanghai and plenty of points dropping off Djokovic’s current total in the coming weeks, Alcaraz has an opportunity to chip away at the Serbian’s 3,260 point lead at the top of the rankings.

That lead will shrink after Alcaraz’s progress in the China Open this week and he could be close to Djokovic heading into the Paris Masters later this month if he wins in Shanghai.

Alcaraz will face Nuno Borges or Gregoire Barrere on debut in Shanghai and there are possible meetings with Karen Khachanov in the fourth round and he could take on Taylor Fritz or Frances Tiafoe in the quarter-finals. No 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and sixth seed Andrey Rublev are also in Alcaraz’s half.

Overall, this looks like a favourable draw for Alcaraz and he certainly has a more attractive route to the latter stages of the tournament that No 2 seed Daniil Medvedev.

The Russian won this event the last time it was played in 2019 and he has been handed a nightmare draw with Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alexander Zverev all in this quarter of the draw.

Britain’s Andy Murray is also in the Shanghai Masters draw and he could face Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the second round if he overcomes Roman Safiullin in the first round.