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Alcaraz: To Be Best, You Must Beat the Best

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Monday, March 20, 2023 

One is the most powerful number in tennis.

Blake: Djokovic Out of Miami Open

Carlos Alcaraz believes it takes two to reinforce the strength of No. 1.

The reigning US Open champion swept Daniil Medvedev, 6-3, 6-2, snapping the Russian's 19-match winning streak to capture his maiden BNP Paribas Open crown and reclaim the top spot in the rankings.

It is the third Masters 1000 championship for Alcaraz, who won the 2022 Miami Open and Madrid championships.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz told the media in Indian Wells he looks forward to a rematch with the 35-year-old Serbian superstar because "to be the best, you have to beat the best." 

The pair have played only once with Alcaraz prevailing in Madrid last May. 

"I mean, Novak is one of the best players in the world. That's obvious," Alcaraz told the media in Indian Wells. "You know, I will say that 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. But yeah, of course it could be amazing to play against him again."

In their lone prior meeting, Alcaraz out-dueled the then world No. 1 Djokovic 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) rising to his maiden Mutua Madrid Open final in a dizzying three hour, 35-minute classic match.

The Spanish phenom made history as the first man to conquer king of clay Rafael Nadal and Djokovic in succession at a clay-court tournament.

Regardless of ranking, Djokovic has said in the past he feels he's the best player on the planet. Alcaraz knows he must successfully defend his Miami Open championship to retain world No. 1.

Regardless of rankings, Djokovic always believes he's the world's best player.

"This week I probably am. Overall the rankings are showing who had the best year, and Alcaraz is the No. 1 in the world," Djokovic told the media in Turin last November. "Not much to say about that. But in my mind I always see myself as the best player in the world, of course. I have that kind of mentality and that kind of approach.

"Regardless of who is across the net, regardless of what the surface is, regardless of what season it is, what number of the professional season in my career we're facing, I mean, it's always the same. The ambitions are as high as possible."

Photo credit: Mutua Madrid Open