Novak Djokovic was guaranteed to take over top spot by virtue of winning his first-round match at the US Open, which he did comfortably beating Alexandre Muller in straight sets.
Because the Serbian was only gaining points at the US Open after he missed last year's event, Alcaraz was powerless in his quest to protect his status as the World No. 1 even with a successful title defense. The Spaniard lost in the semifinal, meaning he defended 720 out of 2,000 points as the defending champion.
Alcaraz lost 1,280 points in New York, and Djokovic gained a whopping 2,000 points. The 36-year-old finished the tournament with 11,795 ranking points, which is 3,260 more than Alcaraz's total of 8,535.
Why Alcaraz Is Unlikely To Overtake Djokovic Before Bercy
Let's analyze the World No. 1 ranking scenarios before Bercy, explaining why it won't change hands before then. This is because, there is a slight possibility that Alcaraz can reclaim the number one ranking after the Paris Masters in early November, based on a number of factors.
Also to note, the World No. 1 ranking, in this case, is totally different from the year-end No. 1 which is based on the points earned during the year. Alcaraz can still top that list before the Paris Masters as he is only 770 points in the race behind Djokovic after the US Open.
But in the ATP rankings, Djokovic has a healthy lead of 3,260 points. The Serbian's schedule remains unknown, but the word is he's slated to play in Shanghai, Paris, and the ATP Finals. Before the Paris Masters, Djokovic will drop 750 points, skipping his title defense in Astana and also missing the week when the Tel Aviv Open was held.
That means his lead will be truncated to 2,510 points. Given his commitment to play at the Davis Cup this week, and with Shanghai less than a month away, it is unlikely that we will see Djokovic in action during the Asian swing. So that means Alcaraz can gain a maximum total of 1,500 points during his first visit to China, playing the 500 event in Beijing and the Shanghai Masters.
That would mean Alcaraz's points total will tally to 10,035, which would be 1,010 points behind Djokovic. Even with a clean sweep in Basel (where Alcaraz lost in the quarters last year and can earn 410 points as a champion), which takes place a week before the Paris Masters, Alcaraz can cut that lead to 600 points - his best-case scenario.
So realistically, and mathematically, Alcaraz's best chance of usurping Djokovic could happen at the Paris Masters. But before that, he can only achieve the maximum available points in the tournament he will compete in during the Asian swing.