Novak Djokovic makes big schedule change, giving Carlos Alcaraz’s No 1 hopes a boost

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic ready for action
Novak Djokovic relishes the challenge at the US Open

Novak Djokovic has opted to take an extended break from regular ATP Tour action as he will skip the next big event on the calendar.

Just days after winning a record-extending 24th Grand Slam title with victory at the US Open, the Djokovic juggernaut joined up with the Serbia squad to compete in the Davis Cup Finals Group stage in Valencia, Spain.

And he made a winning return to action as he helped the 2010 champions to qualify for the Final 8 playoffs in Malaga in November.

The world No 1 will take a well-deserved break this coming week as he will not take part in the Laver Cup and he had already confirmed that he won’t defend his Astana Open title.

He was next set to compete at the Shanghai Masters from October 2-9, but he has withdrawn from the ATP Masters 1000 event, which returns to the calendar after a three-year absence, as he made the announcement on X (formerly Twitter).

“Over the years, some of the best support I receive anywhere in the world is in China. Shanghai has always been one of my favorite tournaments in the season,” he wrote.

“I will be missing my #NoleFam in China. I hope that I can come back to China in the future and play in front of all of you again 🙏🎾🇷🇸🤝🇨🇳”

The 24-time Grand Slam winner is now expected to return to action at the Paris Masters, which gets underway on October 30 in Paris-Bercy, before he brings the curtain down on his 2024 ATP campaign at the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.

He will then return to Spain for the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga as he will try to deliver a second title for Serbia.

How does Djokovic’s withdrawal affect the ATP Rankings?

On the back of winning the US Open title, Djokovic opened a 3,260-point lead over Carlos Alcaraz in the ATP Rankings, but there is still plenty to play for.

Djokovic will drop 750 points as he won’t defend his titles in Astana and Tel Aviv, which will effectively put him 2,510 points ahead of Alcaraz in second place.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, has no points to defend until October 24 when he will drop 180 points for the Swiss Indoors. The Spaniard will compete at the China Open from September 24 and the Shanghai Masters. If he wins both titles then the difference could be just 1,010 points, which would increase again by 180 points at the end of October due to the Swiss Indoors.

But it could leave Alcaraz within striking distance at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals. Alcaraz has 180 points to defend in Paris and Djokovic 600 while the Spaniard missed last year’s ATP Finals while Djokovic won the title undefeated (1,500 points).

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