Easier recovering No. 1 spot because Novak Djokovic was not playing, says Carlos Alcaraz after Indian Wells triumph

19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz regained the No. 1 spot in men’s singles rankings, dethroning Novak Djokovic from the top spot. Alcaraz achieved the feat after winning the Indian Wells Masters final against Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.

By India Today Sports Desk: Teenager Carlos Alcaraz said on Monday that it meant a lot to him to regain the No. 1 spot after having recovered from multiple injury concerns that kept him out of action after the US Open triumph in 2022. Alcaraz dethroned Novak Djokovic as the No. 1 men’s singles player in the world after he won his maiden Indian Wells Masters title in California on Sunday.

Carlos Alcaraz defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the Indian Wells Masters final and the victory helped him overtake Novak Djokovic to the top spot in the ATP charts. Alcaraz became the first male teenager to win Indian Wells and Miami Open, which is famously referred to as the Sunshine Double.

Alcaraz rose to No. 1 after winning the US Open crown in 2022 but he slipped behind due to injury concerns. The Spaniard returned to the ATP Tour in February at Buenos Aires where won his first title of the season and made the Rio final before withdrawing from Acapulco with a strained hamstring.

Alcaraz will retain the No. 1 spot if he defends his Miami Open title next week but the Spaniard highlighted the tough road he had gone through to reclaim the top spot.

“I began the season well but struggled a lot with injuries. Two injuries in the legs in about four months, it was tough to stay strong mentally,” Alcaraz told Tennis Channel after his triumph.

“I missed some tournaments I wanted to play, but I worked really hard with my team. I believe in myself and the work I’m doing right now and I’d say that’s the most important thing. It means a lot to recover the number one ranking. I’m not going to say it was easy, but it was easier because Djokovic was not playing.”

‘WINS HAVE MADE ME MORE CONFIDENT’

Notably, Djokovic, who vaulted back to No. 1 after winning the Australian Open crown in January, was not allowed to enter the United States to take part in the Indian Wells and Miami Open.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, said he was happy with the way he was able to tackle the big stages, highlighting the manner in which he was able to overcome the Medvedev challenge in the final.

Notably, Alcaraz had faced Medvedev only once before — at Wimbledon 2021 and the Russian star had beaten the Spaniard in straight sets. On Sunday, Alcaraz did not give an inch away to Medvedev, clinching a 6-3, 6-2 victory in just an hour and 10 minutes.

“I got a lot of experience since that match. I was new on Tour at that time but now I’ve played a lot of great matches and won great titles. That’s made me more confident,” Alcaraz said.

“Now I know how to handle tough moments.”

Alcaraz will be hoping to go the distance in Miami before he gears up for the clay-court swing of the season.

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