Indian Wells (USA), March 9 (IANS) Carlos Alcaraz, who took some time off after injuring his right hamstring during his run to the Rio Open final, a problem that forced him to withdraw from Acapulco, is raring to go on top of the Tennis summit, should he win the year’s first ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells.
The Spaniard controls his own destiny in the battle for No. 1 in the ATP Rankings over the course of the next two weeks. If the Spaniard wins the Indian Wells Masters, he will return to the top spot on March 20.
“I’m feeling really good right now, “Alcaraz said on tournament media day as quoted by the ATP Tour website. “Today was the first practice that I practised with some players and played some points. I feel great. I took some days off and it was really good for me. Right now I’m ready.”
Alcaraz has a lot to play for this week: By winning his third Masters 1000 crown, he would return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. While he does not consider himself a favourite in the desert, the Spaniard is motivated to chase glory on both fronts.
“It’s a really good goal for me. Of course, playing a Masters 1000 is always tough and I really want to have a good result here. I love this tournament as well. For me, winning the tournament and being No. 1 again is a really good goal and I really want to go for it.”
If the World No. 2 does anything less than lift the trophy at the season’s first ATP Masters 1000 event, Novak Djokovic will remain World No. 1 on March 20.
Alcaraz last September became the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings. The 19-year-old maintained the position for 20 weeks and finished as year-end World No. 1.
While already claiming one title in 2023, winning his season-debut tournament Argentina Open in Buenos Aires, Alcaraz is seeking his first hard-court title since his New York breakthrough.
“On the hard court, I think I’m a really good tennis player, so I’m going to go for it,” said Alcaraz, who has not competed on the surface since last November’s Rolex Paris Masters. “I don’t consider myself a favourite to win the tournament because [it has been] a long time since I played on a hard court.
“Of course, there are a lot of great players in this draw that have chances to win the tournament. I would say that I have my chances to win the tournament and I’m going to (try to] take it.”
After a first-round bye, Alcaraz will open his third Indian Wells campaign against qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis or wild card Brandon Holt.