Why Alcaraz Can Retake Throne From Sinner As Best Player In 2024

Why Alcaraz Can Retake Throne From Sinner As Best Player In 2024

by Nurein Ahmed

Jannik Sinner has unquestionably been the man to beat in the first quarter of 2024, but will his dominance last for the entire season?

That's the million-dollar question as the ATP tour oscillates from the hard courts of North America to the clay courts of Europe for the next two and a half months.

Although Novak Djokovic leads the ATP rankings by a healthy margin, the Serbian star has stuttered three times this season and is currently tinkering with his coaching setup following the shock split with Croatian coach Goran Ivanisevic.

Sinner is definitely ahead of the curve this year, having won his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open and the ATP 500 in Rotterdam. He could pad the winner's column by lifting the Miami Open later on Sunday when he plays Grigor Dimitrov in the final.

The 22-year-old is already at a career-high ranking of World No. 3 and could soon take over as the World No. 1 if the current form persists. Sinner is the ATP race leader, which factors points earned in 2024, and recently dethroned Djokovic as the No. 1 player in the UTR rankings.

He's made his case as the best men's player this season, and it is tough to dispute that. But this is a very tricky stretch for the man from San Candido, who faces a true test of his ambitions of being the World No. 1 by June.

Why Alcaraz Is Best Placed To Combat The Sinner Juggernaut

The major storyline in 2023 was the battle between Djokovic and Alcaraz for the year-end No. 1 ranking. The pair played some exciting matches like the Wimbledon and the Cincinnati finals. Ultimately, Alcaraz endured a slump in the autumn and lost ground.

This year, Sinner has stood above everyone else. Alcaraz was entangled in fighting his own demons and suffered an unfortunate ankle injury in Rio. Djokovic was plagued by injury, a viral infection, and a reported altercation with Ivanisevic.

The Italian's serial challenger proved to be Daniil Medvedev, whom Sinner has now inflicted a major scar that might need a more complex intervention to wipe off. In their last five meetings, Sinner won all of them, including the Australian Open final from two sets down.

But as stated at the top of the article, clay might be Sinner's stumbling block, and Alcaraz could be the man to stop him. The Spaniard memorably ended his rival's undefeated streak in Indian Wells. It was a turning point in Alcaraz's season because he ended his lengthy title drought in that tournament.

In that time, Sinner, whose electric game and powerful service wreaked havoc on hard courts, won almost all the big titles. Clay courts have a tendency to slow down all the biggest hitters, including the ATP's man of the moment.

Stats suggest it remains Sinner's trickest surface, although he has consistently recorded good results and even won an ATP 250 title, beating Alcaraz. Last year, he posted an 8-3 record on the surface, with a semifinal run in Monte Carlo being his best result.

Alcaraz, by contrast, went 27-3 on clay, winning titles in Buenos Aires, Barcelona, and Madrid. The 20-year-old had restored parity in the blockbuster semifinal at Roland Garros against Djokovic before cramping.

Apart from the change of surface, there are other unknown variables, like the form of Rafael Nadal, who will return from injury in Monte Carlo, and Djokovic potentially finding his best form after an inconsistent start to the season. Right now, though, Alcaraz appears the likeliest candidate to reclaim the throne from Sinner as this season's best player on the clay.


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