Why Djokovic's absence in ATP Toronto is good news for Alcaraz ahead of US Open | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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Why Novak Djokovic's absence in ATP Toronto is good news for Carlos Alcaraz as bigger US Open challenge awaits

Aug 07, 2023 06:07 PM IST

Carlos Alcaraz will begin his campaign in Canadian Open on Wednesday when he faces the winner of Bernabé Zapata Miralles and Ben Shelton

Carlos Alcaraz will be playing his first ATP event this week since his glorious Wimbledon title haul in the first of the two Masters 1000 event ahead of the fourth and final Grand Slam of the calendar year. The Spaniard will be making a third appearance in his career at the National Bank Open and a first in the Toronto edition of it. And while his primary objective will be to claim his maiden Canadian Masters as he builds towards his title-defense campaign in 2023 US Open, Alcaraz will be mindful that he would want to make the most of the absence of Novak Djokovic.

If Carlos Alcaraz wins the tournament, he will be take his ranking tally from 6685 to 7675
If Carlos Alcaraz wins the tournament, he will be take his ranking tally from 6685 to 7675

The Djokovic incentive

Having lost his world No.1 title following his French Open loss to Djokovic in June, Alcaraz had reclaimed the ATP ranking crown after winning his first ever grasscourt title at the Queen's later that month before successfully defending it against the Serb by completing arguably one of the toughest task in recent tennis history - defeating Djokovic on Centre Court in Wimbledon. But the 20-year-old's job does not end there.

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ALSO READ: Federer gives verdict on Alcaraz's Wimbledon final vs Djokovic as 'next Big Three' talk fuels up ahead of US Open

With the 23-time Grand Slam winner opting out of Canadian Masters citing fatigue, thus extending his time off the court post that heartbreaking loss in July, Alcaraz has been served with the perfect opportunity to build his lead over Djokovic in the ATP rankings chart and consolidate his position before leaving for New York.

The fact that will keep Alcaraz on his toes throughout his campaign in Canada will be that while he will be defending 2000 points at the Flushing Meadows by virtue of being the champion last year, Djokovic will have nothing as he did not play last year. To top that, the 36-year-old will be back in action next week at the Cincinnati Masters, which will be is only preparatory event before US Open, and he won't be defending any points there either.

ALSO READ: Alcaraz faces Holger Rune threat as world no.1 begins bid for maiden Canadian Masters title: Men's singles draw analysis

Alcaraz handed tough draw

Having been given a bye into the second round, just like the rest of the top eight seeds, Alcaraz will be opening his campaign against compatriot Bernabé Zapata Miralles or American Ben Shelton followed by likely rivals in Hubert Hurkacz, Holger Rune, Stefanos Tsitsipas and second seed Daniil Medvedev waiting to end his glory run.

If Alcaraz wins the tournament, he will be take his ranking tally from 6685 to 7675, thereby standing 730 points ahead of Djokovic before a potential clash in Cincinnati. However, in his two appearances so far, he has never made it past the third round.

"The truth is that right now, I'm not focused on one (facet) in particular, but I'm clear that I have to improve everything. You can always be better, you can always improve, so right now I'm trying to improve everything a little", he said in the pre-tournament presser.

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