The Serbian star won a record 7th ATP Finals on Sunday in a straight-sets win over Jannik Sinner. Djokovic had initially secured the year-end No. 1 ranking at the start of the tournament after winning his opening round-robin match.
But a successful title defense in Turin has also secured his top-seeding status for the first Grand Slam of 2024 which will officially kick off on January 14. It is mathematically not possible for Djokovic to relinquish the No. 1 before next year's big battleground in Melbourne.
Djokovic ends the year as the ATP's No. 1 for an eighth time (also another record), ahead of Carlos Alcaraz. In fact, the 36-year-old established a gap of 2,390 points in the year-end rankings.
Because the men's tennis season has run its course this year, that lead is not going to change between now and the opening week of the 2024 season. Djokovic's schedule in the early phase of next year is unclear.
But even if he elects not to defend the Adelaide title he won this season, that only truncates the advantage by a mere 250 points. His closest rival Alcaraz is reportedly unlikely to play any warm-up tournaments in the buildup to the 2024 Australian Open.
So, the possibility of Alcaraz overtaking Djokovic can only happen after the tournament on Monday, January 29, 2024. Djokovic will be defending the full 2000 points in Melbourne, while Alcaraz has plenty to gain having missed the entire Australian swing in 2023.
By virtue of being the top seed at the Australian Open, Djokovic and Alcaraz will be in opposite halves of the draw and can only meet in the final. Recently, Djokovic took control of their head-to-head (3-2) for the first time thanks to an accomplished performance in the semifinal of the ATP Finals.