Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz: who will be the year-end world No.1? Alcaraz prepares for the crucial Paris-Bercy event with one goal: to be number 1 at the next ATP Finals in Turin. What will he need for the company? Nadal sharpens his weapons, knowing he has a small chance.
Alcaraz, fresh from the knockout in the semifinals in Basel with a wild Felix Auger-Aliassime, does not give up the race for the number 1 at the end of the year. The Spaniard born in 2003 would be the 18th player ever to finish in front of everyone, differentiating himself from those who have touched the roof of the world, but without being able to defend him until the end of the year.
It happened to important Spaniards, like Carlos Moya and especially Juan Carlos Ferrero, now his coach. But also to champions like Boris Becker, Thomas Muster and Marat Safin. All at an age that is absolutely unattainable for everyone.
The first step will be to defend the position at the start of the Turin ATP Finals. And Paris-Bercy, of course, will be the crucial junction. Points in hand, Carlos is master of his destiny. By hitting the quarter-finals he will not even have to look at the results of Rafa Nadal, his opponent in the race, determined to become the third player ever to close the sixth year of his career at number 1.
For his part, the Majorcan has, in view of the Finals, only one result: the victory, with an Alcaraz out of the game before the quarter-finals. A mission that is anything but simple, we remember. Rafa, in Paris, never present until 2007, in seven participations he reached only one final, lost in two sets with Nalbandian, and three semifinals.
The only positive memory, the victory number 1000 in his career. Not surprisingly, his nemesis, exactly like the ATP Finals, where he only played in the finals in 2010 and 2013. So, Paris-Bercy as the first act. Nothing else.
Because the number one will be chosen in Turin. Ruud, Tsitsipas and Medvedev are now out of the game to present themselves in Italy with first place in their pockets. But a double great performance, between France and Italy, and two early eliminations of Alcaraz, could still change the cards.