Despite just winning the US Open, Novak Djokovic’s hold on the top spot in the ATP rankings could be a little tenuous heading toward the end of the year. Djokovic is planning to rest during the end of September and most of October and won’t play again until the Paris Masters, which begins on October 30. That break could leave the door open for Carlos Alcaraz to pass Djokovic for the no. 1 spot in the world rankings.
To be fair, Djokovic has certainly earned a break. After winning the US Open, he immediately traveled to Spain to represent Serbia in the Davis Cup. He’s also set to return to Spain later this year with the hopes of guiding Serbia to another Davis Cup title. Also, with his win over Daniil Medvedev in the US Open finals, a loss to Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final is all that prevented Djokovic from winning all four Grand Slams this year.
Nonetheless, Djokovic's impending absence is set to send shockwaves through the tennis community, affecting both avid fans and enthusiastic bettors alike. As the tournament dynamics shift, many are turning to platforms like DraftKings Sportsbook to assess and wager on the evolving odds, making Djokovic's withdrawal a pivotal moment in the world of tennis betting.
The biggest tournament that Djokovic is set to miss is the Shanghai Masters, which runs from October 2 to 9. This will be the first time the tournament is being held since 2009 because of travel restrictions in China related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Djokovic is also a four-time winner of the Shanghai Masters and likely would have been favored to win the event again. He’s also choosing not to participate in the Laver Cup or even defend his title at the Astana Open.
With Djokovic on the sidelines until late October, there is now an opportunity for Alcaraz to seize the top spot in the world rankings. At the moment, Djokovic has a fairly comfortable lead of 3,260 points over Alcaraz in the ATP rankings for 2023. However, the Serbian superstar will drop 750 points for nor playing in the Astana Open. Meanwhile, if Alcaraz can win both the China Open and the Shanghai Masters, he’ll be just over 1,000 points behind Djokovic. With the Paris Masters and ATP Finals still on the schedule, the Spaniard could catch Djokovic by winning those two tournaments.
In three head-to-head meetings this year, Djokovic has two wins over Alcaraz, beating him in the French Open semifinals and the Cincinnati Masters final. However, Alcaraz knocked off Djokovic to win Wimbledon, so the Spaniard will feel as if he has a chance to beat the Serbian again. The bottom line is that with Djokovic taking the next few tournaments off, the top spot in the ATP rankings could depend on what happens between Djokovic and Alcaraz in Paris and at the ATP Finals in Italy.