Will Alcaraz Take Late Wild Card In Metz Or Sofia To Keep No. 1 Hopes Alive?

Will Alcaraz Take Late Wild Card In Metz Or Sofia To Keep No. 1 Hopes Alive?

by Nurein Ahmed

Carlos Alcaraz suffered a damaging defeat at the Paris Masters, giving Novak Djokovic the all-clear to cement his status as the year-end No. 1 player for the eighth time.

Coming to Paris, Alcaraz was just 500 points behind Djokovic and spoke like a man who knew his ultimate aim. Alcaraz's obsession with Djokovic and the No. 1 ranking had partly affected his form during the Asian swing in which he failed to win a title in either Beijing or Shanghai - the latter losing in the round of 16.

But heading into his first match against Roman Safiullin, he made his intention and ambition clear - the No. 1 ranking was on his mind. Despite a section of fans feeling he was being cocky or conceited in a way, Alcaraz has maintained that he practices with a goal in his mind.

However, he ran into an in-form Roman Safiullin, who had the upper hand when it came to acclimatizing to the courts in Paris. The Russian had played two qualifying matches and defeated Alexandre Muller quite convincingly in his opening main draw match.

Alcaraz, who pulled out from last week's Swiss Indoors, was a step behind the Russian who dictated proceedings and won. Alcaraz is now staring at the possibility of Novak Djokovic virtually sealing the No. 1 ranking ahead of the ATP Finals.

But there are two tournaments running concurrently next week, and Alcaraz can get a late wild card if he expresses his interest in playing either the Sofia Open or the Moselle Open Metz before the entry deadline.

He can earn a maximum of 250 points in either of those two tournaments, which will keep the year-end No. 1 race alive going to the ATP Finals.

The Spaniard's most recent post on social media seems to suggest he is resigned to getting that No. 1 spot back. If Djokovic wins the Paris Masters, the gap will grow to 1,490 points. Unless Alcaraz plays one of Sofia or Metz (and wins), then the Serbian will win the race in his first round-robin match at the ATP Finals.


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