Indian Wells | Alcaraz reclaims top ranking by claiming title.

Carlos Alcaraz swept aside Daniil Medvedev — winner of the three consecutive tournaments leading up to the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells — to win the first Masters of the 2023 season and re-establishing himself as the world No.1 in dominant fashion.

“I think my tennis didn’t improve so much since last year,” Alcaraz continued. “What I improve a lot is to don’t take the pressure, just to play relaxed, you know. That’s for me the most important thing. Carlos Alcaraz

The 70-minute, 6-3 6-2 victory was the result of the 19-year-old’s speed about the court, power and his touch. At one point he returned three straight dropshot winners as he bossed the in-form Russian around to snap his 19-match winning streak.

“It feels amazing to lift the trophy here, to recover the No. 1. I would say this has been the perfect tournament,” a satisfied Alcaraz said. “It was good for me, this tournament that I really wanted to win, and for me, it’s amazing.”

The teenager’s dominance was complete as he lost just 12 points on serve and never faced a break point as he demoralised the lanky Muscovite.

Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz pose with their respective trophies after the final

Julian Finney/Getty Images

“He’s playing good,” the conquered Medvedev admitted. “I feel like he was serving well today. Serve and volley was good. Like even I knew that it’s never easy to finish a match, especially a final. I was thinking about my match with Novak in US Open, and, you know, try to do the same, put pressure on him.

“I don’t know if it’s his game that didn’t let me play my best level today or just, for whatever reason, I didn’t play my best level. Mentally I was ready for the match. I don’t feel like I kind of took it too easy before the match. I was ready for a fight. I knew that I have a tough opponent on the other side. He played well. Good dropshots in good moments, some good winners to break me.”

Alcaraz set the scene by breaking Medvedev in his first service game and repeated that scenario in the second.

“I expect a match, toughest match,” added Alcaraz, who didn’t drop a set throughout the event. “I played perfect, let’s say. I’d say before that against Daniil you have to play your best, and tactic at your best level, as well. Against him is always a tactic match, and I did perfect today. That’s why it looks easy, but it wasn’t.”

It was the young Spaniard’s 8th career title and third at Masters level after pocketing Miami and Madrid last year. His record in finals now stands at 8 wins with just 3 losses, his last to Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Rio de Janeiro four weeks ago, being his only loss this year so far.

“I think my tennis didn’t improve so much since last year,” Alcaraz continued. “What I improve a lot is to don’t take the pressure, just to play relaxed, you know. That’s for me the most important thing.

“That’s why I show a great level, because I feel like I have no pressure. I enjoy. I’m playing relaxed. I would say I improved that a lot, and that’s why I’m playing a good level.”

With Novak Djokovic absent from both Indian Wells and Miami because of his now well-known stance against Covid vaccinations which goes against American visa requirements, his reign at the top could well be challenged when the tour return to Europe and he fails to successfully defend the Miami points he collected 12 months ago.

Carlos Alcaraz's speed about the court proved a major factor in securing his win

Julian Finney/Getty Images

“It feels great to be back on the No. 1,” the Spaniard said as he enjoyed his 21st week back at the top. “Of course, every player on the ATP wants to be No. 1, and for me it’s a dream come true again. Obviously being in front of such great players like Novak, like the top players, for me, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Medvedev, who preceded him as No.1 and also had two stints on the top for a total of 16 weeks, put Alcaraz’s rise in perspective.

“Carlos is deservedly World No. 1. He won more points than everybody else in last 52 weeks, and that’s how rankings work. Yeah, he was also year-end No. 1 last year, so that’s something I haven’t done, so I’ll try, for sure, in my career.”

The battle for overall ranking supremacy will no doubt be a major feature of the season and one which fans will follow avidly.



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