|Four months ago, we wrote (The Sportspedia) that Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) is “the real deal” and that it should not be a surprise if he became the #1 in tennis this year. He just did that. But unlike his predecessor, Daniil Medvedev (RUS), Alcaraz has a shot at lasting for a while and creating a duopoly with Novak Djokovic (SRB).|
This year, he beat Rafael Nadal (ESP) and Novak Djokovic (SRB) back-to-back at the Madrid Open. It was a message that he was in the house as the new force that could take the baton relay from them. Now, he beat Casper Ruud (NOR) in the US Open Final, a match where the winner would become the new number one in men’s tennis.
However, it is important to note that regardless of the ranking, we can still call Novak Djokovic (SRB) the world’s best tennis player. The reason he lost the #1 status is that he has been absent from some tournaments due to his covid vaccine status -such as in the Australian Open- or other reasons -such as the US Open-, plus the fact that Wimbledon, the tournament he did win, did not count for the World Ranking due to the ban of Russian and Belarusian players.
Some might argue that the current World Ranking is wrong because it should reflect a more accurate “pound-for-pound, results-based” depiction of who the best player in the world is compared to his peers. Others would argue that it is correct because it should reflect the results of a season and compete in more tournaments should be rewarded. Currently, only the 12 previous months count for the ranking.
Back to Djokovic, considering his age and performance, as well as what his peers in the big triad of male tennis figures, it is conceivable to think that he could go on for a few years and continue to be in contention for the number one spot and actually, his uncle has said that the Serb could go on competing for five or six years and that this spell has actually extended his career span (The Pavlovic Today).
Tennis aficionados might be in for a treat in the years to come. Roger Federer (CHE) has just retired and Rafael Nadal (ESP) is in the later part of his career. It looks increasingly unlikely that he will return to the number one spot…Although Nadal should never be discarded!
This could have led to a scenario whereby Djokovic could have been left a clear road to becoming the lone number one without further contention. That seems to be far from the truth. Perhaps it would have been unlikely to think that the new dispute for number one would be a rivalry between Medvedev -who lost in the Round of 16 at the US Open- and Djokovic, but with Alcaraz, it is more likely that the future will see a duel between them fighting for number one.
There are other players that are making tennis exciting but an Alcaraz that is yet to reach his peak with a peak Djokovic, we will have an intersection of what might make an exciting era in tennis after the Holy Trinity.