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Will Alcaraz become ATP world number 1 after winning the Madrid Open?

Carlos Alcaraz beat Jan-Lennard Stuff in the final of the Madrid Open on Sunday May 7, just 405 points behind Djokovic.

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after winning the 2023 ATP Tour Madrid Open tennis tournament singles final match against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff at Caja Magica in Madrid on May 7, 2023.

Novak Djokovic is currently world number one, with 7,135 ranking points. Carlos Alcaraz is 405 behind, on 6,770. Behind those two are Daniil Medvedev (5,240), Casper Ruud (5,210) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (5,195).

Alcaraz beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the final of the Madrid Open this afternoon 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, and thus successfully defended the 1,000 points he picked up last year. Djokovic got to the semi-final last year, earning 360 points, which he has lost as he hasn’t played the tournament. That puts him automatically on 6,775 points in the next list. Alcaraz now leaves Madrid with 6,770, his current total, which he maintains. This means that provided he plays in Rome, the next tournament, he’ll be guaranteed to be number one.

How the ranking points work

The tennis ranking system is based on the points picked up at each tournament, which automatically expire after a year. This means that to maintain points won at any tournament it’s necessary to repeat the achievement from the previous year. This also means that a tennis player can win a tournament but not improve their ranking points if they are repeating what they did the year before. So if a player wins a Grand Slam (2,000 points) and repeats the title the following year, their ranking points do not improve as the 2,000 picked up merely replace the 2,000 lost from the expiry of the previous year’s title.

Alcaraz’s win means he’ll be number one provided he plays in Rome

Novak Djokovic won in Rome last year, meaning he is defending those 1,000 points and cannot improve his overall total, meaning he’s stuck on 6,775 maximum till after Rome. However Alcaraz got zero points in Rome last year, meaning he’ll be getting points from the very first match. Even losing in the first round would earn him 10 points, meaning that just by playing a single game he’d be guaranteed to move to number one after Rome, on a minimum of 6,780 with Djokovic on a maximum of 6,775.


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