There is no denying that Carlos Alcaraz dominated the spotlight during the conclusive days of the Indian Wells Masters tournament, with that claim only further confirmed by the young Spaniard’s destruction of Daniil Medvedev in a one-sided final.
The score line of 6-3 6-2 doesn’t do justice to the power Alcaraz held over his opponent, as he mixed up blistering ground shots from the back of the court with stunning drop shots to ensure he delivered that winning result.
After missing the Australian Open in January due to injury and encountering another fitness problem during his final against Cameron Norrie at the Rio Open last month, physical concerns have dominated his pathway of Alcaraz in recent weeks.
But all that changed at Indian Wells, with his flawless display ensuring he knocked Djokovic off the top spot in the world rankings.
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ALCARAZ GIVES HIS VERDICT
“It feels amazing to lift the trophy here, to recover the number one position,” said Alcaraz. “I would say this has been the perfect tournament.”
“I expected a tough match, but I played perfect. Against Daniil, you must perform tactically, and at your best level as well. It may have looked easy, but it wasn’t.”
“The thing that’s improved most for me is my mental game. 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.
Djokovic will also miss this week’s Miami Open as he is not permitted to enter the US, but Alcaraz could still lose the world No.1 ranking to the Serbian superstar in the next few days.
ALCARAZ COULD LOSE NO.1 RANKING
Alcaraz is defending 1000 ATP points from his win in Miami last year and will need to reclaim the title at this event to stay as the world No.1 heading into the European clay court season that gets underway in Monte Carlo next month.
“For 20 years it’s always been the same players, the ‘Big Four,’ winning the biggest tournaments,” added Alcaraz, referring to Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
“Right now, there are so many chances to win those tournaments and so many players have that chance. I’m happy to see a lot of great players competing at the top.”
“I began the season well but struggled a lot with injury. Suffering two leg injuries in about four months, it was tough to stay strong mentally. “”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. 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 wasn’t playing.”
WHAT COMES NEXT?
Now the tennis world is counting down to the first big meeting between Alcaraz and Djokovic in 2023, with this mouth-watering clash likely to happen on clay at some point in April or May.
Alcaraz beat Djokovic in their only previous clash in Madrid last year, but downing Djokovic and Nadal in a Grand Slam tournament, over five long sets, has proved to be beyond reach for the rising stars of tennis for the best part of two decades.
It seems that tennis has unearthed a young man who is ready to break their stranglehold, with Alcaraz a force to be reckoned with at the tender age of 19.