low of Australian Open due to a muscle injury in the right leg, Carlos Alcaraz, number one in the world, is still “present” in Melbourne. It is that, from afar, he is one of the protagonists of the race for first place in the world rankings, which could change hands after the first Grand Slam of the season. The 19-year-old from Murcia will cede leadership if one of the two players still have chances to dethrone him, Stephen Tsitsipas Y Novak Djokoviche is crowned champion on the oceanic courts.
Alcaraz, who injured the semimembranosus muscle in his right leg during training before the tournament and was left with the desire to play his first Major as number one, will lose the 90 points he had to defend. Therefore, he will appear in the next leaderboard update with 6,730. This is the figure that his pursuers will have to overcome in order for him to fall from a height. To do so, both the Greek and the Serbian will have to lift the trophy.
tsitsipas, who was a semi-finalist in Australia in 2022 and took 720 points, is fourth today with 5,715. If he makes it to the final, he will leave Melbourne with 6,195, a smaller harvest than the Spaniard has today.
But if he cries champion, who won the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 and Mallorca ATP last year and accumulates 9 titles, he will add 6,995 points and climb to the top for the first time.
The best current history of the Greek in a competition of this category was at Roland Garros 2021, when he lost in the decisive duel with Djokovic. In Australia he has reached the semifinals three times: 2019, 2021 and in the last edition.
In the same scenario it is Djokovic. The Serbian wants to recover the number 1, which he gave up last year mainly due to his lack of activity (he missed several major events, such as those in Melbourne and New York, due to his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid). And to do that, he has to win the title.
It is that today he is fifth with 5,070 units and although he does not even defend units, if he were a finalist he would only reach 6,270, insufficient to lower Alcaraz. But if he gets his 10th tournament crown and 22nd Grand Slam, he’ll add 7,070 and go back to the top rung.
The two have already secured a spot in the third round of the contest.
Tsitsipas started with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) victory against the French Quentin Halis (64th) and then crushed local 6-3, 6-0 and 6-2 Rinky Hijikata (169th and one of the guests of the organization). His next rival will be the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor (61st).
Meanwhile, Djokovic beat the Spaniard with authority 6-3, 6-4 and 6-0 Roberto Carballes Baena (75) and in the second round he had to work a little harder to beat the French 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 and 6-0 Enzo Couacaud, from Qualy, in a duel in which he received medical treatment for a nuisance in his left leg. Now he will go looking for the pass for the round of 16 against the Bulgarian Grigor DimitrovSeeded 27th.
Casper Ruud, third in the standings with 5,720 points, had also started the tournament with a chance to be number one and become the first Norwegian to reach the top. He was the one in the best position to replace Alcaraz because having not played in the tournament last year due to injury, he has not defended units.
He had to reach the final and hope that neither Tsitsipas nor Djokovic won it, or be crowned champion to leave Melbourne as leader. But the defeat of him in the second round against the American Jenson Brookby for 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (7-9) and 6-2 left him out of the race.
Nadal had no chance
Rafael Nadal suffered a major blow in the second round of the tournament. Not so much for the result, even if he fell in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5, against the American mackenzie macdonald (63rd), rival on the lower card, but who played a great game – but due to the injury to his left hip, which physically limited him during the match and risks taking him away from the circuit at least for some time.
The early elimination cost the Spaniard a chance to add his 23rd Grand Slam and establish himself as the greatest winner in history in this category, a record Djokovic could now match. But he didn’t exclude him from the race for number 1 because, in reality, he had no chance of overtaking his compatriot even by shouting champion.
And this Raf, who is second in the standings with 5,770 points, had to defend the 2,000 he added last year when he won the title. At best, if he repeats the celebrations, he’ll leave Melbourne with the same crop he has today.
What will happen now with his ranking? Falling in the second round will cause him to lose 1,955 units (45 will be awarded for reaching that instance), he will remain at 3,815 and fall, at least, to sixth place. Similarly, for the 36-year-old Spaniard, the ATP rankings stopped being a priority for some time. His main goal is to stay healthy to prolong his career as much as possible and keep fighting for important titles.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.