© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Carlos Alcaraz leads the ATP Tour with 58 wins this season.

The Statistics That Prove Alcaraz's Improvement In 2023

Spaniard is 770 points behind Djokovic in Live Race

As he began his title defence at the 2023 US Open, Carlos Alcaraz said he felt like a better player than when he won his first major title in New York. While the Spaniard could not repeat his trophy feat at the hard-court Slam, his statistics this season trump his 2022 campaign almost across the board.

There is one key measure by which Alcaraz is off his previous pace: the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Alcaraz debuted at World No. 1 following his US Open triumph last year and held onto that position to finish the year as the ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone. This September, he sits at No. 2.

But a closer look reveals that the 20-year-old has improved even by the measure of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

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After finishing the 2022 season with 6,820 points, Alcaraz already has 8,175 points in this year's Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. He's just 770 points behind Novak Djokovic in the Live Race, with two ATP Masters 1000s (Shanghai, Paris) and the Nitto ATP Finals still to come, among other events.

Following his US Open semi-final defeat to Daniil Medvedev, Alcaraz revisited his claim that he is a better player this season.

"These kind of matches can happen even if I feel myself [a] different player, more mature," he said, before going on to provide a harsh self-assessment.

"I thought that right now I am better player, to find solutions when the match is not going in the right direction for you. But after this match, I'm going to change my mind. I'm not mature enough to handle these kind of matches. So I have to learn about it."

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Alcaraz was understandably disappointed after bowing out in New York, but a broader perspective shows his strides in the past 12 months.

In 2022, Alcaraz finished the season with a 57-13 record, an 81 per cent win rate. This year, he stands at 58-7, good for an 89 per cent winning rate. Despite not making his season debut until mid-February after missing the start to the season with an injury, Alcaraz has already surpassed his win total from a year ago. His 58 victories lead the ATP Tour according to Infosys ATP Stats, with Medvedev (55) the only other player above the 50-wins mark.

Of his seven defeats this season, only one has come in straight sets — a stunner against Fabian Marozsan in Rome. Outside of that second-round defeat and a quarter-final exit in Toronto, Alcaraz has reached at least the semis at each of his 11 other tour-level events in 2023.

Alcaraz will hope to continue his consistent season in Beijing, where he is set to make his debut at the ATP 500. All of the remaining ATP Tour events in 2023 will be played on hard courts, and the Spaniard's statistics on that surface are also among the best.

With a 21-4 record, his 84 per cent hard-court win rate this season is third best on the Tour, behind only Djokovic (97%) and Medvedev (86%). His 21 wins are among the Top 10, a tally limited by his absence during the Australian Swing to begin the year.

With Djokovic not competing in Beijing or the ATP Masters 1000 in Shanghai, Alcaraz has a golden opportunity to close the 770-point gap between the pair in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. By the end of the Asian Swing, Alcaraz could have his fate in his hands in his bid to repeat as ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone.

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