Novak Djokovic on Carlos Alcaraz: ‘He deserves to be No 1, but I’m sure Rafael Nadal will try to dethrone him’

Novak Djokovic and Alcaraz

There are many “what ifs” after a chaotic 2022 season, but Novak Djokovic believes Carlos Alcaraz is a worthy world No 1 and “great for tennis”, although he feels Rafael Nadal will be looking to bump the teenager off top spot before the end of the year.

Djokovic started the 2022 season at the top of the ATP Rankings, but he was usurped by Daniil Medvedev after he was unable to defend his Australian Open title. After briefly returning to the top, he was again bumped off top spot by Medvedev in July despite successfully defending his Wimbledon title.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz then replaced the Russian at No 1 on the back of winning his maiden Grand Slam, the US Open at Flushing Meadows in September.

Djokovic also missed the North American hard-court swing, including the US Open, and many believe that there is a good chance that the Serbian would still be No 1 if he banked the usual 2,000 points for a Grand Slam win at Wimbledon and picked up some wins in America.

However, the 21-time Grand Slam winner says “it is what it is” and feels Alcaraz deserves top spot.

“Alcaraz is the world No 1, he is the best. Nothing more to add, the rankings show it. It is a fact that I played less, Wimbledon points did not count, maybe it would have been different in different circumstances, but that is a ‘what if’,” Djokovic said in an interview with Sportal – translated by Tennis Majors.

“It is what it is, he absolutely deserved to be where he is – I congratulate him for all the success he has had. I think it is great for tennis that such a young guy achieved so many historic results and milestones, because that attracts a lot of attention for our sport, so we all benefit.”

The battle to be the season-ending No 1 will go down to the wire though as Nadal is only 920 points behind his young compatriot and the 22-time Grand Slam winner doesn’t have any points to defend at the Paris Masters or the ATP Finals.

Djokovic added: “I am sure that Nadal will try to dethrone him until the end of the year, he has got a chance.

“And then we turn a new leaf next season, let’s see what happens.”

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