US Open 2023: Novak Djokovic will replace Carlos Alcaraz as world number one after his victory

Novak Djokovic stretches for a backhand at the US Open
Djokovic won in the first round of a major tournament for a men’s record 67th consecutive game
Place: Flushing Meadows, NY Appointment: August 28-September 10
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Novak Djokovic will replace young rival Carlos Alcaraz as the men’s world number one after a routine victory in his return to the US Open.

Serbian Djokovic, who lost the Wimbledon final to Alcaraz, won 6-0 6-2 6-3 over France’s Alexandre Muller in Monday night’s session in New York.

Djokovic, 36, was not allowed to play in the United States last year because he was not vaccinated against Covid-19.

He came back knowing another title would be a record 24th major.

Djokovic’s target is to equal Australian Margaret Court’s all-time tally and he made a statement by starting by passing Muller in 84th.

“I started very well, we started quite late but nevertheless I was excited to get out on the court – it’s been a few years,” said Djokovic, who will spend a record 390th week at the top of the ATP rankings. .

“In the second and third sets I lowered the level of my serve and had to work a bit more for the points. Nevertheless, I played very well and I liked the level.”

Only starting at 11:00 p.m. local time, the three-time US Open champion showed he didn’t want to hang around and dropped just eight points in a 23-minute opening set.

A smiling Muller raised both arms in celebration when he finally came on the scoreboard for 2-1 in the second set, but the 26-year-old couldn’t stop Djokovic from going any further.

Muller offered more resistance in the third set before Djokovic raced through the final four to claim victory in an hour and 34 minutes.

Djokovic, who won the Australian Open and French Open earlier this year, is aiming for a fourth title at Flushing Meadows and will face Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the second round. He will return to world number one after the tournament.

The 20-year-old top-seeded Alcaraz won his first major at the US Open in Djokovic’s absence last year and begins his crown defense against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer on Tuesday.

Alcaraz and Djokovic are joint favorites for the men’s singles title after developing a fascinating rivalry over the past 12 months.

It was seething at the start of the season, but without the presence of the two at key tournaments, there was little chance for the two men to face each other on the pitch.

Now the game has been on fire for the past few months after three convincing contests in the French Open semi-finals, the Wimbledon showpiece and the Cincinnati final this month.

Alcaraz and Djokovic cannot meet at the US Open before the final as they are the first two seeds.

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