Novak Djokovic speaks out after losing No.1 ranking to Carlos Alcaraz

The 22-time grand slam champion opened up about missing the two big US tournaments.

Novak Djokovic during an Australian Open press conference and Carlos Alcaraz speaking.
Novak Djokovic (pictured left) has congratulated Carlos Alcaraz (pictured right) for reclaiming the World No.1 title after he wasn't allowed to play at Indian Wells. (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has opened up about missing Indian Wells and subsequently losing his World No.1 ranking to Carlos Alcaraz after the Spaniard won the title in California. Djokovic has been denied entry into the US since the start of the pandemic due to his vaccination status.

This has seen him miss a number of tennis tournaments, including two Indian Wells tournaments and a US Open. Having regained the World No.1 ranking after winning the Australian Open, Djokovic was hoping to take part at Indian Wells to cement his status on hard courts.

HUGE: Iga Swiatek joins Roger Federer in groundbreaking sponsorship move

TOUGH: Rafa Nadal falls to brutal 18-year first as tennis fans left saddened

But Djokovic was denied entry - with restrictions expected to ease in April - and has been forced to watch on as Spanish sensation Alcaraz won the tournament without dropping a set. Djokovic will also miss the Miami Open.

Alcaraz was utterly dominant and regained his mantle at the top of men's tennis, which he lost when he withdrew from the Australian Open due to injury. And Djokovic was full of praise for Alcaraz and his effort to come back from injury and defeat Daniil Medvedev in the final at Indian Wells. And he also admitted he had no regrets on not being able to make the 'fifth grand slam' due to his circumstances.

"No, I have no regrets,” Djokovic told CNN. “I’ve learned through life that regrets only hold you back and basically make you live in the past.

"And I don’t want to do that. I also don’t want to live too much in the future...So I congratulate Alcaraz. He absolutely deserves to come back to No.1."

Djokovic famously became emotional at the end of the 2021 US Open when he missed out on a calendar grand slam in his loss to Daniil Medvedev. The 22-time grand slam champ broke down in tears as the occasion struck him that he wouldn't achieve his goal.

And the US crowd got right behind the Serbian as he struggled to finish the match. And Djokovic dug up those memories and said he is looking forward to playing in front of crowd at Flushing Meadows later this year.

“I actually had in 2021 when I lost in the finals against (Daniil) Medvedev, probably one of the best moments I ever had with the New York crowd...And even though I lost that match, I received a lot of love and appreciation from people and I want to go back and I want to reconnect with the crowd there," Djokovic added.

Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal to play Monte Carlo

Djokovic's next scheduled tournament is on clay. Djokovic will take part at the Monte Carlo Open alongside Rafa Nadal in a huge Masters 1000 event to kick off the clay court season.

Nadal hasn't played tennis since picking up a hip flexor injury at the Australian Open this year. This has also seen Nadal slip down the rankings and drop outside the Top 10 for the first time since 2005.

In 2020, Nadal set the men's record for most weeks in the Top 10 when he overtook tennis great Jimmy Connors previous record of 789 weeks. Nadal has been in the Top 10 for 912 consecutive weeks, before dropping out on Monday.

Novak Djokovic looks on during a match against Daniil Medvedev.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) lost his World No.1 ranking to Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)

He sits only being Martina Navratilova who was at the top of the women's game for an incredible 1,000 weeks. While he hasn't played a match since Melbourne Park, the Monte Carlo tournament director said Nadal is expected to play at the opening Masters 1000 clay court event.

"Rafa was the first [player] to be registered," tournament director David Massey said. "He really wants to play at the Monte Carlo Masters and is giving himself every chance to take part in the tournament he's so fond of."

Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.