Carlos Alcaraz's message to Novak Djokovic in return to ATP tour

The 19-year-old Spaniard is returning after missing the Australian Open

Carlos Alcaraz (pictured left) during a press conference and (pictured right) Novak Djokovic talking after the Australian Open.
Carlos Alcaraz (pictured left) said he is ready to win back the World No.1 ranking from Novak Djokovic (pictured right) upon his return to the ATP Tour. (Getty Images)

Carlos Alcaraz has warned his rivals that he wants to regain the No.1 ranking after the disappointment of missing the Australian Open. Alcaraz left the tennis world in shock when he announced he wouldn't be able to take his place in the grand slam at Melbourne Park due to an ongoing leg injury.

The 19-year-old from Spain, who won his maiden grand slam title at the US Open in September, revealed he had sustained the injury during pre-season training and hadn't recovered in time. Alcaraz watched on as Djokovic claimed his 10th title at Melbourne Park and regain the World No.1 ranking.

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Djokovic made history in Australia he winning his 22nd grand slam title, which saw him equal Rafa Nadal's record. And the young Spaniard was in awe of the 35-year-old Serbian for his groundbreaking efforts.

“He has no weaknesses. Every shot, it’s amazing,” he said. “His physical condition is amazing, his mental condition is amazing. He’s like a god and I admire him over the years staying at the same level, staying at the top. It’s really, really difficult and I admire that.”

However, the Spaniard is returning with a fire in his belly. Alcaraz is playing his first tournament in 2023 at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires. After a four month layoff the Spaniard said his body is ready to return.

And the 19-year-old superstar has warned his rivals and Djokovic that he is ready to cement his spot at the top of the sport once again. “It has been a long time [I spent] at No. 1,” Alcaraz added.

“Now it’s a goal for me to recover No. 1 and try to do my best in these tournaments to be back on that number. I’m looking for that.” Alcaraz was the youngest year-end No.1 in the history of the ATP rankings.

Carlos Alcaraz's rise to the top of tennis

Alcaraz spent 20 weeks at World No.1 before injury stopped him from defending his rank at the Australian Open. The Spaniard will play Laslo Dere in the round of 16 at the Argentina Open.

The young Spaniard surged to the top of the ATP rankings after a breakout season which culminated in him beating Casper Ruud in the US Open final. However he suffered an abdominal injury at the end of the year which saw him miss the ATP Finals and Davis Cup finals.

The 19-year-old became the youngest male player ever to reach World No.1. He was able to cash in on Djokovic's inability to play the Australian and US Opens due to his vaccination status.

Carlos Alcaraz (pictured right) during training in Argentina.
Carlos Alcaraz (pictured right) is set to return to action in Argentina after four months out. (Photo by LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images)

Djokovic looks increasingly unlikely that he will be able to compete at Indian Wells in March. This leaves the door open for Alcaraz to close the gap in the rankings.

The Spaniard will also be one of the favourites heading into Roland Garros after his performances on clay in 2022.

The top grand slam winners in the Open Era of tennis (since 1968). (Photo by Mahmut Resul Karaca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The top grand slam winners in the Open Era of tennis (since 1968). (Photo by Mahmut Resul Karaca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

with AAP

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