Latest UTR rankings create a stir as Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz are divided

Kevin Palmer
Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz appeared to take his game to the next level with his win at the Indian Wells Masters last month, but that has not been enough to fire him at the top of the latest Universal Tennis rankings.

World No 1 Novak Djokovic has suggested the method used to evaluate the UTR rating offers the most accurate way to assess the game’s elite list, with the detailed algorithm used an alternative traditional points system used by the ATP Tour.

And the latest top ten list of the men’s game creates plenty of talking points, with Alcaraz’s position at No 4 one of many intriguing talking points.

Djokovic stands proud at the top of the UTR rankings, as he prepares to make his return to the court at the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this month.

Daniil Medvedev is at No 2 in the list, after a run of form that saw him win a hat-trick of tournaments at the start of 2023, before he also added the Miami Open title to his collection earlier this month.

Jannik Sinner sits in third spot in the latest UTR rankings after the Italian beat Alcaraz in Miami with a sparkling performance.

Alcaraz is just one place ahead of Nick Kyrgois, who is set to make his return to the tour after a spell out with injury.

Rafael Nadal has lost his place in the top ten of the ATP rankings after a remarkable 18-year run among the game’s elite, but he remains in the top ten in the UTR list as he is ranked at No 9.

Djokovic fans are always quick to suggest their man deserves to sit at the top of any ranking list, but the Serbian appreciates the challenges to his dominance at the top of the game are now coming from a variety of directions.

“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,” said Djokovic, as he reflected on another season disrupted by his inability to travel and play in big tournaments due to his Covid vaccine status.

“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.”

Respected coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes there is no doubt over who should be hailed as the world No 1, as he insists Djokovic is still the man to beat.

“The best player in the world is the world No 1, and it’s Novak Djokovic,” said Mouratoglou, who is currently coaching top ten player Holger Rune.

“If Alcaraz is No 1 tomorrow, we can say it’s Alcaraz. I think Carlos again is an incredible player and I have no doubt that he will be No 1 for years.

“But for the moment, it’s impossible not to say that Novak is the best. He is not able to play a lot of tournaments for non-vaccinated reasons, and he’s still technically No 1 so that says a lot of his level of play.

“I think Carlos is more impressive than Novak in terms of the tennis he plays. He has so much power, he’s so explosive physically. He also has a touch, but don’t forget that Novak will be the greatest of all time. He is already extremely close to that.

“He is the guy who finds solutions to win, he is a guy who is winning Grand Slams for 15 years, he is a man who arrived at a time that Rafa and Roger were winning absolutely everything, and he was able to arrive, beat both of them and become No 1.

“I understand that people want to put Carlos already at the top, but he’s not there yet.”

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