Carlos Alcaraz secured the number one ranking for the first time in his career by winning last year's US Open. This year's US Open was special because it marked the first time he was a defending champion at a major. The effort was decent but not the desired one, as Daniil Medvedev beat him in the semi-final.
Many wondered how he would deal with the added pressure, and according to Rusedski, he did fine by going to the semi-finals. He didn't play well in that match and lamented it afterwards, but it was still a decent result for the Spaniard.
It was the first time in his career that he [Carlos Alcaraz] had to defend a Major. It’s not a bad effort making the semis. I mean most people if they get to the semis of a Major, that’s career-defining.
The player Medvedev failed to beat ultimately was Djokovic. The Serbian has been the most impressive player this year and, according to Rusedski, who talked on the Inside-In Podcast, the true number one, even though he wasn't for much of this year. The rankings are a mathematical thing, and they don't often reflect the real state of the Tour.
Let’s be honest, he was World No. 1 for most of this year but all the players still think Novak is No. 1 because he wasn’t allowed to play the Indian Wells, Miami, all the Majors he missed as well because of his stance that he had with Covid as well, not getting vaccinated.
So you gotta look at all those things that were around the whole situation for Novak. I think Novak felt he was No. 1 even though the ranking didn’t say so.