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What does Novak Djokovic’s Miami Open absence mean for world No. 1 battle with Indian Wells champion Carlos Alcaraz | Tennis News

The Sunshine Double – Indian Wells and Miami Open – was Novak Djokovic’s opportunity to pile up points and consolidate his position as the world No. 1 heading into the clay season, having not been part of the two Masters 1000 events since 2019 and hence had no points to defend. However, a shock third-round exit in California, followed by a decision to withdraw from Miami Open, leaves the Serb in a precarious spot in the battle for keeping the top-ranking position before the start of the clay season, where he will defend the French Open crown.

Carlos Alcaraz will be aiming for a Sunshine Double
Carlos Alcaraz will be aiming for a Sunshine Double

Djokovic was stunned by lucky loser Luca Nardi, who grew up idolising the 24-time Grand Slam winner, in the third round last week at the Indian Wells, and hence bagged only 50 points.

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While the unusual start to the year for Djokovic, who usually begins with an Australian Open title, left experts speculating his future in the sport, the Serb revealed that he would want to end his trophyless start to 2024 in Miami. But a few days later, he withdrew from the tournament saying he needs to balance his “private and professional schedule”.

Where does Novak Djokovic’s Miami Open withdrawal leave him in battle for world No. 1?

The 36-year-old will be assured of the top ranking in the ATP chart after the Masters 1000 in Miami ends on March 31. This would imply that he would take his tally of time spent as world No. 1 to 420 weeks.

However, with Carlos Alcaraz claiming his first title since the Wimbledon last year with the Indian Wells trophy haul, the Spaniard stands just 920 points behind Djokovic (9725 points). Alcaraz will defending 640 points in Miami next week, having reached the semis last year, and if he manages to script a Sunshine double at the end of this month, he will cut the gap to just 280 points as he would take his tally to 9445 points.

This would subsequently imply that with the start of the clay season in Monte Carlo, the world No. 1 spot will be up for grabs. Both Alcaraz and Djokovic missed the tournament last year and, hence, will not be defending any points in the first big event of the European clay swing in April.

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