Carlos Alcaraz Under Pressure as Jannik Sinner Closes in on World Ranking

Carlos Alcaraz at a press conference (EFE/Luciano González)

Carlos Alcaraz is beginning to become aware that at this moment perhaps he should not focus so much on Novak Djokovic, but on his closest pursuer in the ranking: Jannik Sinner. “I do notice his breath. I think he still got 1,000 points, but for Jannik that’s nothing. I have to be at the top of my game as much as I can to try to keep it from reaching me and recover number one,” he admitted in an interview with MARCA, before a tournament in Rio in which, due to injury as soon as he debuted, he lost again. points. So many, globally, that it is not among the ten most powerful rackets so far in 2024.

Alcaraz did add to the Australian Open. Specifically, 400 points, by reaching the quarterfinals. Since he was not in the game in the first Grand Slam of the course in 2023 (injured), he had nothing to lose in Melbourne. But yes in Buenos Aires and Rio, where he defended the title, on the one hand, and the final, on the other. A year later, the current South American tour has not been nearly as satisfactory as the last one: semifinals in Buenos Aires (100 points) and a zero, due to his withdrawal in the first round, in Brazilian territory. Which leads him to lose 300 points in the table since this Monday.

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Thus, Sinner will be just 535 points away from taking the number two position in the world from Alcaraz. A company not at all crazy if the Italian maintains a progression as impeccable as the one he has been showing, which leads him to be the fittest tennis player today. His exceptional competence contrasts with the doubts that the Spaniard has had since Wimbledon, which he has not completely shaken off in all these months. So much so that he has only reached one final, that of Cincinnati, once he had won the second major of his career.

Alcaraz, as soon as he was injured in Rio (EFE / Antonio Lacerda)

The uncertainty in which Alcaraz has recently moved and the perfection from which Sinner has not yet come down in 2024 is palpable in the classification that measures the performance of the players with a view to their future presence at the ATP Finals in Turin. In the Race in force today, the one from San Candido has no rival: he leads it with 2,500 points after having won Australia, his first major, and Rotterdam.

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In second place, we have Daniil Medvedev, with 1,300 points from his finalist status in Australia. The podium is completed by Alexander Zverev, with 1,135 points (335 from the United Cup, which he won with Germany, and 800 from Australia, where he was a semi-finalist). You have to go down to fourth place to find the world number one, a Djokovic who has 860 points after passing through the United Cup (60: quarterfinals) and Australia (800: semifinals).

Alex de Minaur is fifth, with 795 points (265 from the United Cup semifinals, 200 from the Australian round of 16 and 330 from the Rotterdam final). Sixth gear Andrey Rublev, who has collected 750 (250 for winning in Hong Kong, 400 for making the fourth round in Australia and 100 for repeating that same round in Rotterdam) which could be up to 900 depending on what he finally does in Doha. Grigor Dimitrov, for his part, is seventh, with 715 points (250 for winning Brisbane, 100 for reaching the third round in Australia, 165 for being a finalist in Marseille and 200 for reaching the semifinals in Rotterdam).

Hubert Hurkacz is eighth, with 700 points (150 for being a finalist in the United Cup, 400 for making the quarterfinals in Australia, 100 for the semifinals in Marseille and 50 for the round of 16 in Rotterdam). Ninth position belongs to Taylor Fritz, with 695 (45 from the group stage of the United Cup, 400 from the Australian quarterfinals and 250 from his victory in Delray Beach). And he closes the Top 10 of the Tommy Paul Race, with 565 points (50 from the quarterfinals in Adelaide, 100 from the third round in Australia, 250 from winning in Dallas and 165 from being runner-up in Delray Beach).

Sinner after winning in Rotterdam (REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw)

Ultimately, up to 10 men are ahead of Alcaraz at this point in the campaign. The next chance to redeem himself will be in Indian Wells. Nor is his exhibition against Rafa Nadal in Las Vegas in danger: the sprain suffered in the last few hours will only keep him off the courts for a few days.

2024-02-21 19:32:00
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