Carlos Alcaraz - US Open 2023

Carlos Alcaraz reveals ‘goal’ to ‘recover’ No.1 ranking from Novak Djokovic

Carlos Alcaraz has returned to the US Open with a retirement victory, and the defending champion has revealed his motivation to regain the world No.1 status from Novak Djokovic.

Alcaraz was leading Dominik Koepfer, 6-2 3-2, before the German retired with an ankle injury that he was evidently struggling with throughout the match.

This rewarded Alcaraz with the 37th Grand Slam win of his young career, and the 20-year-old revealed how it felt to return to Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I was excited to play my first round here in the US Open,” said Alcaraz. “It was great to step on the court again in the Arthur Ashe after such a great run last year. I was excited to come back.”

He continued, “I’m not thinking about the defending the title. I just focused on playing at my best level, to recover the level that I played last year and try to do the same things that I did last year. That’s the only thing that I’m thinking right now.”

Although Alcaraz is currently No.1, he knows that he will be dethroned of the top spot by Djokovic following the conclusion of the US Open.

This was confirmed after the Serb won his opening round match against Alexandre Muller on Monday, and Alcaraz has spoken of his desire to claim it back.

“It’s a goal for me. I said before that we are having a really good battle for the No. 1, Novak and I,” explained the Spaniard. “I knew that he was going to recover the No. 1 after the US Open.

“When the tournament is over, I will try to recover as soon as possible. That’s my goal. I am working for that. The season has a lot of tournaments until the year is over. I’ll try to recover it before the before the year ends.”

However, Alcaraz’s current focus will be on retaining a major title for the first time in his career, as he awaits 2021 US Open quarter-finalist Lloyd Harris in the second round.

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic’s No.1 Timeline

Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest ATP No.1 in history when he won the US Open last year, and since then him and Novak Djokovic have traded it back-and-forth.

Here is the timeline of events so far:

12th September 2022 – Carlos Alcaraz wins the US Open (20 weeks)

30th January 2023 – Novak Djokovic wins the Australian Open (7 weeks)

20th March 2023 – Carlos Alcaraz wins Indian Wells (2 weeks)

3rd April 2023 – Novak Djokovic after Alcaraz fails to retain Miami Open title (7 weeks)

22nd May 2023 – Carlos Alcaraz wins one match at the Italian Open (3 weeks)

12th June 2023 – Novak Djokovic wins Roland Garros (2 weeks)

26th June 2023 – Carlos Alcaraz wins Queen’s Club (10 weeks)*

(11th September 2023 – Novak Djokovic will become No.1 again following the conclusion of the US Open)

*Current No.1

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.