Carlos Alcaraz started the season as World No. 1. He ended the season as World No. 2. Let’s take a look at the highs and lows of his 2023 season.
Carlos Alcaraz 2023 Season Review
Carlos Alcaraz started the 2023 season as World No. 1. However, an early season hamstring injury forced his withdrawal from the first Grand Slam of the year. As a result, the Spaniard lost the top ranking to Novak Djokovic. The 20-year-old played his first tournament at the Argentine Open, where he defeated second seed Cameron Norrie in the final to take his seventh ATP title.
Alcaraz was the defending champion at the Rio Open and made the final once more. The Spaniard once again faced Brit Norrie in the final. This time the Brit won, stopping Alcaraz from claiming back-to-back titles. February saw the 20-year-old set to play in Acapulco, but another hamstring injury forced him to pull out before the event started.
Indian Wells saw the Spaniard claim his third Masters title. Alcaraz won the title without dropping a set. The last player to achieve that was Roger Federer in 2017. The 20-year-old became the ninth and youngest man to take the Sunshine Double. He regained the top spot in the ranking as a result.
Loss of the top spot
After failing to defend his title in Miami, Alcaraz dropped back to No. 2. He withdrew from the Monte Carlo Masters due to injuries in his back and hand. Returning to the clay courts in Barcelona, the Spaniard retained his title without dropping a set.
Madrid saw the Spaniard on home soil. Carlos Alcaraz claimed his tenth career title here, again retaining his title. Rome Masters gave the 20-year-old the chance to regain the top ranking. Alcaraz lost in the third round, keeping him at World No. 2.
In the French Open, which has been a happy hunting ground for Rafael Nadal, Alcaraz made the semi-final. A highly anticipated matchup against Djokovic ensured top billing. The Spaniard and Serbian had traded top spot throughout the season but had not yet played each other.
Djokovic won in four sets, as the young Spaniard suffered cramps at the start of the third set. Djokovic went on to claim the title and the top spot.
Carlos Alcaraz had not played much on grass. At Queens Club, the Spaniard claimed his first grass title. Alcaraz had only played three grass tournaments to this point in his career. The title also gave the top spot back to the Spaniard. At Wimbledon, the 20-year-old made the final. Once again, he faced Djokovic. This time, though, Alcaraz came out on top. The Spaniard secured the title in a tough five-set battle.
Alcaraz’s Wimbledon title stopped the Serbian from claiming a fifth consecutive title. The Spaniard also became only the second man to defeat Djokovic in a Wimbledon final. The first, of course, was Andy Murray in the unforgettable 2013 final. It secured him the No. 1 ranking. Alcaraz also became the first player who wasn’t one of the big four to lift the trophy since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.
Toronto saw Carlos Alcaraz lose in the quarter-final. He faced Djokovic again in the Cincinnati final. The Serb would avenge the Wimbledon loss. In Flushing Meadows, the Spaniard lost in the semi-final and dropped to No. 2. Alcaraz then withdrew from the Davis Cup, citing tiredness.
The indoor hard court end-of-season events saw Alcaraz try to regain World No. 1. The Asian swing didn’t start well for the Spaniard. Losing in the semi-final in Beijing and the Round of 16 in Shanghai was not the start needed. The Spaniard withdrew from Basel with another injury. In the Paris Masters, the 20-year-old lost in the first round.
The end of season finals in Turin saw the Spaniard in the semi-final. Once again, Djokovic would defeat Alcaraz and ultimately keep the top ranking. Alcaraz had to settle for No. 2 this season. Carlos Alcaraz’s goal for 2024 will be to stay uninjured and claim the top spot once again.
Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane – USA TODAY Sports