Alcaraz Faces Fresh Challenge From Djokovic To Keep Olympics Race Lead

Alcaraz Faces Fresh Challenge From Djokovic To Keep Olympics Race Lead

by Nurein Ahmed

Carlos Alcaraz may not be the World No. 1 in the ATP rankings for now, but he is top of the leaderboard in the Olympics Race ahead of Novak Djokovic.

The Spaniard has earned 4,280 points since mid-June when the points for the Olympics qualification started to accrue. Alcaraz has earned the bulk of his points from winning his second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, beating Djokovic in that epic final in London.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is not far off, having accumulated 4,210 points ahead of his second-round match at the Paris Masters. Considering that the Serbian star missed the entire Asian swing, which would have certainly allowed him to pick up enough points to lead this race, it is quite an achievement that he is still there or thereabouts in leading.

Djokovic will be 37 when the Olympics come around next summer, but he's made his intentions clear that he regards next year's Games to be of "high priority" contrary to controversial claims by French coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

There has not been significant movement in the Top 20. Ben Shelton continues to lead the charge among American men having earned 1,590 points (at least 250 points more than the next-best American man, Taylor Fritz). In fact, the USA has six male representatives in the Top 20.

But due to the Olympics criteria, they can only send their top-four ranked players to France. Shelton, Fritz, Tommy Paul, and Frances Tiafoe occupy those spots in that order (it can change between now and next June). The Russian duo of Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are comfortably in the Top 10 and could be complemented by Roman Safiullin and Aslan Karatsev, who have both had great seasons.

However, their participation will depend on whether the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will grant them any leniency and lift the ban currently in place for Russian and Belarusian athletes. China's Zhizhen Zhang is the only man assured of his spot at the Paris Olympics after winning a gold medal at the Asian Games.

The Olympic tennis tournament will be contested by 64 players in the singles field, 56 of whom will qualify based on actual rankings on June 12, 2024. The event itself will start on July 27, 2024, and spill over to August 4, 2024, partially affecting the schedule for the Canadian Open.


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