Carlos Alcaraz returned to the top of the ATP rankings on Monday after his Indian Wells triumph, while Rafael Nadal dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in 18 years.
Spanish teenager Alcaraz cruised past Russian Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final to retake top spot from Novak Djokovic who was missing Indian Wells due to being unvaccinated against Covid.
“I began the season well but struggled a lot with injuries," Alcaraz, who defends his Miami Open title this week, told Tennis Channel. “Two injuries in the legs in about four months, it was tough to stay strong mentally.
“I missed some tournaments I wanted to play, but I worked really hard with my team. I believe in myself and the work I’m doing right now and I’d say that’s the most important thing.
“It means a lot to recover the number one ranking. I’m not going to say it was easy, but it was easier because Djokovic was not playing."
Victory over Medvedev meant Alcaraz became the youngest man to win the Indian Wells and Miami Open titles, a feat dubbed the ‘Sunshine Double’.
“The thing that’s improved most is the mental game," said Alcaraz, who lost to Medvedev in their first meeting in 2021.
“I got a lot of experience since that match. I was new on Tour at that time but now I’ve played a lot of great matches and won great titles. That’s made me more confident," Alcaraz said.
“Now I know how to handle tough moments."
American Taylor Fritz dropped five spots to world number 10 after his title defence ended in the quarter-finals.
Nadal, who has been out injured since a second-round exit at the Australian Open, fell to 13th place.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion had previously been inside the top 10 since April 2005.
ATP top 20
1. Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) 7,420 pts (+1)
2. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 7,160 (-1)
3. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 5,770
4. Casper Ruud (NOR) 5,560
5. Daniil Medvedev 4,330 (+1)
6. Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 3,415 (+4)
7. Andrey Rublev 3,390
8. Holger Rune (DEN) 3,325
9. Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 3,065 (+2)
10. Taylor Fritz (USA) 2,975 (-5)
11. Jannik Sinner (ITA) 2,925 (+2)
12. Cameron Norrie (GBR) 2,815
13. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 2,715 (-4)
14. Frances Tiafoe (USA) 2,710 (+2)
15. Alexander Zverev (GER) 2,580 (-1)
16. Karen Khachanov 2,505 (-1)
17. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 2,230
18. Alex de Minaur (AUS) 2,085
19. Tommy Paul (USA) 2,045
20. Borna Coric (CRO) 1,905
(With inputs from Agencies)
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