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Jannik Sinner, on top of the world Jannik Sinner, seul au monde

2022 is coming to an end and has not left tennis fans untouched. These twelve months will remain engraved in the history of the sport. After Novak Djokovic’s chaotic start to the season in Melbourne, Rafael Nadal, once again, made his mark by winning his last two Grand Slam titles. The second part of the year included other joys such as Carlos Alcaraz winning the US Open, but also more painful moments. On September 23 at the O2 Arena in London, Roger Federer played the last professional tennis match of his career.

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The 2023 season should be as promising. It will begin on December 29 with a new competition: the United Cup. This tournament, played in mixed teams, with WTA and ATP points will launch the year 2023 under the banner of novelty. This season seems to be the beginning of a new era in tennis.

A deeply desired number one spot in the world

With his victory in the final of the US Open against Casper Ruud (6/4 2/6 7/6 6/3), Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest world number one in the history of tennis. This spot seems deserved considering the extraordinary season of the young Spaniard. Ranked 32nd in the ATP rankings in January 2022, Carlos Alcaraz won a pile of titles: the Rio Open, the Miami Masters, the Barcelona Open and the Madrid Masters. This string of wins allowed the 19-year-old player to gain confidence and experience. These qualities were crucial to his first Grand Slam title.

US Open 2022 : Carlos Alcaraz wins his first Grand Slam title

But one question remains: Can Carlos Alcaraz keep the number one spot of the world? The young Spaniard has not reached back the level of play he showed in New York during the end of the season. If exhaustion might be the source of this drop in performance, the youth of ‘Carlitos’ leaves a doubt about his consistency.

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Novak Djokovic’s return to the ATP Tour on a full-time basis is another obstacle to maintaining his position as world number one. As Djokovic didn’t play at the 2022 US Open due to his vaccination status, Carlos Alcaraz did not have to beat the Serbian in his title run. This doesn’t make his victory less meaningful, but it does create uncertainty about his ability to defend his spot in 2023.

What to expect from the Big Three ?

At respectively 36 and 35 years old, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic seem determined to continue their careers. Separated by a single Grand Slam title in Rafa’s favor, the two men continue to dominate the biggest events on the ATP tour. Between the two of them, they have won three of the four Grand Slams in 2022.

Roland Garros 2022 : Rafael Nadal against Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal’s physical condition does not allow him to be considered as a favorite, except at Roland Garros. After six months off the court and a new knee operation, no one would have bet on him winning a second title at the Australian Open in 2022. He continues to surprise the tennis world and to demonstrate his exceptional qualities. Despite his complicated second half of the season, it would be unwise to eliminate him from the debate. After two disappointing matches at the ATP Finals, Rafael Nadal defeated Casper Ruud (7/5 7/5) in his final match of the year. As soon as ‘The Manacor Bull’ starts playing matches, he remains a very fierce opponent.

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The case of Novak Djokovic is a completely different story. Whenever he plays at a tournament, he is considered the favorite. His 2022 results don’t contradict this. He has participated in ten tournaments this year, winning four and losing two finals. The Serbian ended his season with a sixth ATP Finals, which gave him the fifth place in the ATP rankings.

Novak Djokovic’s participation in the 2023 Australian Open has been confirmed by the Australian Tennis Federation. This will be his first opportunity to match Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam record. This victory would bring him dangerously close to the throne of world tennis. After missing most of the tournaments in 2022, Novak Djokovic will have the opportunity to win many points in 2023. Climbing up the ATP rankings looks pretty easy for the Wimbledon winner. He is the main contender for the world No. 1 ranking, currently held by Carlos Alcaraz.

A battle of generations : the Next Gen against the Baby Gen

The leader of the Baby Gen is the current world number one. Although he is one of the youngest players, he is the embodiment of the talent and potential of this new generation. The Baby Gen, which also includes Holger Rune, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti, has been more successful than the Next Gen during the 2022 season.

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The latter did not live up to the big events. Apart from a semifinal at the Australian Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas didn’t reach the second week of a Grand Slam. Matteo Berettini, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem were slowed down by their injuries. As for Andrey Rublev, he showed his consistency without achieving a feat. Daniil Medvedev has had a disappointing season since his defeat against Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open’s final (6/2 7/6 4/6 5/7).

On the other hand, the Baby Gen has revealed its talent and ambitions. Holger Rune made his top 10 debut after winning the Rolex Paris Masters. Lorenzo Musetti is close to the top 20 and Felix Auger-Aliassime had a wonderful end to the season. In October, he won three titles in as many weeks.

Basel Open : Felix Auger-Aliassime wins a fourth title in 2022

In the 2023 season, the matches between the Next Gen and the Baby Gen are expected to increase. They will be an opportunity for the younger players to assert themselves and compete with their rivals – already well established at the top of the game. While the Baby Gen is on the rise, 2023 could set the record straight. The lack of Grand Slam titles held by members of the Next Gen is a source of constant criticism. However, the consistency that these players have shown over the years is often overlooked. It is not sure that the Baby Gen will be able to do the same.

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The 2023 season should give answers to many questions. Who will rule the world of tennis? Will there be new Grand Slam winners? Will the reign of the Big Three last forever? Answer on the 29th of December.

Marnie Abbou

One thought on “The 2023 ATP season : what is at stake ?

  1. Zina dit :

    Great article ! An interesting insight into what awaits us in 2023

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