ATP

Alcaraz eyes Djokovic match-up after reclaiming No.1 rank with 'perfect' Indian Wells tournament

By Sports Desk March 20, 2023

New world number one Carlos Alcaraz says he played "perfect" in Sunday's final demolition of Daniil Medvedev to cap a "perfect tournament" as he lifted the Indian Wells title for the first time.

Despite Medvedev coming into Sunday's decider on a 19-match winning streak, Alcaraz dominated 6-3 6-2 to win in 72 minutes.

Alcaraz's Indian Wells triumph was his third ATP Masters 1000 crown from three finals, not dropping a set in any of those deciders.

The 19-year-old Spaniard went through the Indian Wells Open without dropping a set and reflected that it was a "perfect" fortnight for him.

"It feels amazing to lift the trophy here [and] to recover the number one," Alcaraz told reporters, having reclaimed the top rank from Novak Djokovic due to his victory.

"It has been the perfect tournament. It was a goal for me, this tournament that I really wanted to win. For me, it's amazing."

The lopsided nature of Alcaraz's victory over Medvedev in the final caught many by surprise, hitting 19-4 winners against the in-form fifth seed.

"Honestly I didn’t expect that," Alcaraz said. "I expected a tough match but I played perfect. I said before against Daniil you have to play your best and tactically at your best level as well. I did perfect today. That's why it looks easy but it wasn’t."

Alcaraz added he was delighted to reclaim the number one rank which he had lost after Djokovic won the 2023 Australian Open which he missed due to injury.

Djokovic was unable to participate at Indian Wells due to being unvaccinated for COVID-19, with the pair actually not facing off at any events this year.

Alcaraz returned from abdominal and hamstring injuries last month at the Argentina Open and Rio Open before competing at Indian Wells, while Djokovic was in action at the Dubai Tennis Championships. The next opportunity for the pair to face off as at April's Monte Carlo Masters.

"Novak is one of the best players in the world," Alcaraz said. "That's obvious. I always say, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. I really wanted to play against Novak again. We miss him on tour and hopefully to have him back very, very soon."

Alcaraz added: "It feels great to be back on the number one. Of course, every player on the ATP wants to be the number one. For me, it's a dream come true again. Obviously being in front of such great players like Novak, the top player, it's an amazing feeling."

Despite Djokovic being unable to compete at Indian Wells, Medvedev said he felt Alcaraz's return to the top rank was a true number one.

"One hundred per cent," Medvedev said. "It's unfortunate Novak can't play all the tournaments. If you get injured, Rafa is injured for some time, we cannot say if Rafa isn’t injured he would be number one, because we cannot know. Same about Novak.

"For sure if he was able to play last year and this year all the tournaments there is a possibility that the rankings would be different but Carlos is deservedly number one, he won more points than everybody else in the last 52 weeks and he was also year-end number one last year."

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