Carlos Alcaraz seeks a title defense at the ATP 500 in Rio. The youngster lifted the trophy a year ago and became the youngest ATP 500 series champion since its inception in 2009. If he wins the title, Carlos will add 6,980 ATP points, the same as world number 1 Novak Djokovic.
However, the Serbian will retain the ATP throne after winning more points in Majors, ATP Finals and Masters 1000. Despite losing 2,000 ATP points at Wimbledon, Novak has a clear 5820-5090 lead over the young Spaniard at three higher levels, conquering 3,500 points in Turin and Melbourne alone!
Alcaraz returns after three months off due to injury. The Spaniard won Buenos Aires last week, and is looking for another trophy in Rio de Janeiro. On the other hand, Novak is the top seed in Dubai, returning to action for the first time since he won his 22nd Major title in Melbourne in January.
Djokovic began the season with a 12-0 run, winning Adelaide and the Australian Open and replacing Alcaraz on the ATP throne. Novak became the only player with 378 weeks as world No. 1, setting his sights on some 400 weeks on the throne.
Alcaraz was in a much better position than Djokovic after last year's US Open, winning the title and becoming the youngest world No. 1 in ATP history. Instead of building on that, Carlos played just a couple more tournaments at the end of the season and missed the opportunity to add more trophies to his already impressive collection.
The Spaniard withdrew in the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters due to an abdominal injury and skipped the ATP Finals and Davis Cup Finals. However, he finished the season as number 1 for the year, setting another age record that will be hard to break.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open with a leg injury and lost the ATP throne to Djokovic. On the other hand, Djokovic has been a player to beat since Wimbledon last year, hardly losing a match and winning six titles from the previous seven tournaments.
Alcaraz was late to the party this season
Carlos Alcaraz was late to the party this season, having missed the 2023 Australian Open due to injury. "I have a special affection here in Rio. The public supported me a lot. My moments on the court in Rio were spectacular and today was proof of that," Carlos Alcaraz said after his semifinal match win against Nicolas Jarry.
"I think people want to see joy, incredible shots,” Carlos Alcaraz said, “I don't think about being the player people want to see after the Big 3, I just want to be who I am and transmit joy on the court."