New world No 1 set to be confirmed ahead of the French Open
The tennis world is counting down to the second Grand Slam of 2023 and it looks like a new world No 1 will be in place for the French Open.
Novak Djokovic has reigned supreme at the top of the ATP rankings for a record 385 weeks, but it seems his reign will come to an end soon.
Carlos Alcaraz is closing in on the top position in the rankings once again, with the Spanish teenager only needing a handful of ranking points in next week’s Italian Open to take over at the top.
Alcaraz didn’t play in last year’s tournament in Rome and that means is can chase 1000 ranking points in the Italian capital.
Meanwhile, Djokovic will be defending 1000 points after his win in Rome last year, meaning he will be powerless to stop Alcaraz taking over at the top.
However, Djokovic’s days as world No 1 are unlikely to be over for good.
The Serbian was beaten in the quarter-finals of the French Open by his great rival Rafael Nadal last year, so he will have plenty of fresh ranking points to chase in Paris this year.
Djokovic will also have an opportunity to collect 2000 ATP points at Wimbledon this summer, after his win at the All England Club last July came after ranking points were taken away from the event following the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in response to the war in Ukraine.
Until we see Djokovic and Alcaraz do battle in a Grand Slam event for the first time, we will not get the definitive answer over who is the best player in the world, but tennis legend Chris Evert believes one name has risen to the top.
“When I look at Novak and Rafa, there are question marks about their health,” said Evert at a Eurosport event.
“These two have been the greatest clay court players of the last few years, but as they get older they get a little bit injured and we don’t know what their status will be.
“So I think Alcaraz is primed for this title at the French Open.
“Like everyone else, I am jumping on the bandwagon with Carlos because we have never seen a player with so much passion and so much hunger in such a long time.
“The guy has it all; he’s got the athleticism, the skillset, he knows defense, he knows offence and he has no weaknesses.
“To me, if he keeps himself healthy and hungry, I think the title is his (in Paris).
“If Novak and Rafa were not injured, I would have a different view and when Rafa is 80 years old, I wouldn’t rule him out from winning the French Open!
“So I am not dismissing them, but I just feel their preparation isn’t great, but Novak and Rafa have superior experience.
“They know better than anyone how to navigate their careers and they know how to manage their emotions. They also favour the majors more than anyone.
“They could come out of the starting gate playing vintage tennis, but on current form you would have to slightly favour Alcaraz.”
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