Novak Djokovic, a four-time champion of the Shanghai Masters, opted not to play this year’s event even with the tournament set for a reintroduction following a four-year hiatus.
Djokovic reclaimed the No. 1 at the US Open a fortnight ago, doing the bare minimum of winning his opening match in New York, taking the World No. 1 back from Carlos Alcaraz, the man with whom he’s shared that distinction this year.
But even with Djokovic pulling out from the Asian swing and forfeiting his champion points from Astana and Tel Aviv, there isn’t the faintest of hope for Alcaraz to win it back even if he completes a clean sweep of the Beijing-Shanghai double. Here’s why.
Why Alcaraz Won’t Overtake Djokovic Before Bercy
First things first. Djokovic is top of the rankings with 11,795 ATP points. That is 3,260 points more than second-placed Alcaraz. The Serbian will drop a maximum of 750 points in the first two weeks of October for missing his title defenses in Astana and Tel Aviv – the latter moved in the 2023 calendar.
So Djokovic’s cushion will be reduced to 2,510 points. Because Alcaraz doesn’t defend any points in that same period, the young Spaniard will have the chance to gain over the 24-time Grand Slam champion. Alcaraz is scheduled to play this year’s Asian swing for the first time in Beijing and Shanghai.
The 20-year-old can garner a maximum of 1,500 points by winning both tournaments, truncating Djokovic’s lead at the top to 1,010 points. Alcaraz signed up to play the Swiss Indoors in Basel in late October. And even if he conjures a hat-trick of titles next month (can earn 410 points as a champion in Basel), he’ll cut that lead to 600 points.
That is obviously the best-possible scenario for Alcaraz which will put him in prime position to unseat the Serb from the No. 1 spot at the Paris Masters. In the event Alcaraz fails to make an impression during the Asian swing, his chances will diminish significantly.