How Injuries Thwarted Carlos Alcaraz's Chances To Become World No. 1 Again

How Injuries Thwarted Carlos Alcaraz's Chances To Become World No. 1 Again

by Nurein Ahmed

Carlos Alcaraz began the 2024 season ranked second in the world rankings and could have quite conceivably been No. 1 had it not been for injuries.

The subpar start to the year by current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic allowed Jannik Sinner to bridge the gap to the top. But because Alcaraz had a much lower deficit to overtake the Serbian, his route to get there was much more straightforward.

It is still possible that Alcaraz will become World No. 1 before the end of the season, but here's how his bid to overhaul Djokovic should have happened a lot sooner in 2024.

Missed opportunity during the Golden Swing

Alcaraz could not garner the full 500 points at the Rio Open, where he was the tournament favorite. An unfortunate slip just two games into his first match against Thiago Monteiro forced him to retire. First-round exits at the ATP 500 do not offer any ranking points.

Forearm injury prevents him from adding 2,500 points on the European clay

After the Sunshine Swing, Alcaraz returned to Europe, where he entered three Masters 1000 tournaments and one ATP 500 before Roland Garros. But he would only feature in one of those, the Madrid Open, where he was operating below the required fitness level.

Alcaraz withdrew from Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and, more recently, the Italian Open in Rome because of a persistent forearm injury. Those three tournaments account for 2,500 ranking points.

Would Alcaraz realistically have been No. 1?

Alcaraz retained his position as World No. 3 despite his costly defeat in the Madrid quarterfinal. In the live ATP rankings, he trails top-ranked Djokovic by 2,645 points.

With the Serb playing fewer tournaments this year and currently yet to hit his stride, the Spaniard missed out on winning as many as 3,000 points because of injury from four tournaments, which would have sustained his ambition of reaching the World No. 1 yet again.


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