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Friday, April 19 2024

Australian Open: Djokovic, Ruud, Tsitsipas in battle for No. 1

Australian Open Djokovic Ruud Tsitsipas in battle for No 1
Photo Credit : IANS

Melbourne: Novak Djokovic, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas all start their campaigns knowing they will become the new No. 1 in the ATP Rankings by lifting the 2023 Australian Open trophy.

World No. 3 Ruud can also claim top spot by reaching the final, as long as neither Djokovic nor Tsitsipas wins the title. If none of those scenarios play out, the reign of current World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, not playing in Melbourne due to injury, will continue, reports

World No. 5 Djokovic arrives in Melbourne as one of the title favourites. He has won a record nine Australian Open titles, owns an 82-8 tournament record, and began his 2023 season in impressive fashion by lifting his 92nd tour-level trophy at the Adelaide International 1. He can return to World No. 1 for the first time since 6 June by winning his record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

The 35-year-old Serbian also has past experience on his side when it comes to battling for the top ranking. The seven-time year-end No. 1 has spent 373 weeks as World No. 1 across his career, longer than anyone else in history.

The No. 3-ranked Ruud is chasing his maiden Grand Slam crown in Melbourne and achieving the feat would give the Norwegian double cause for celebration. He would become the first Norwegian World No. 1 at the age of 24, having already become the first ATP Tour titlist, Nitto ATP Finals competitor, and Grand Slam finalist from his country.

Should both Djokovic and Tsitsipas fall before the final in Melbourne, Ruud can seal top spot by reaching the championship match. He made that stage twice at Grand Slams in 2022, at Roland Garros and the US Open, where he was beaten by Alcaraz in what was a straight shoot-out to become World No. 1. Ruud’s current best showing at the Australian Open is a fourth-round appearance in 2021.

Like Ruud, Tsitsipas is aiming for his maiden major crown and to become World No. 1 for the first time. The World No. 4 can count on vocal crowd support in Melbourne, which is home to a large Greek community, and his record there suggests the 24-year-old relishes the vibrant atmosphere. Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals in 2019, 2021 and 2022, and holds a 15-5 tournament record overall.

The nine-time ATP Tour titlist Tsitsipas must win the title in Melbourne to become World No. 1. The closest he has come to victory at a Grand Slam was at Roland Garros in 2021, when he fell to Djokovic in a five-set thriller.

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