Three players have more than just the inaugural Grand Slam crown of the year at the 2023 Australian Open. Novak Djokovic, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas begin their campaigns knowing they will become the new World No.1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings if they lift the trophy in Melbourne. World No. 3 Ruud can also claim the top spot by reaching the final, as long as neither Djokovic nor Tsitsipas win the title. If neither of those scenarios play out, reigning No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, who is not playing in Melbourne due to injury, will continue. World No. 5 Djokovic arrives in Melbourne as one of the favorites for the title. He has won a record nine Australian Open titles, owns an 82-8 tournament record and started his 2023 season in impressive fashion by lifting his No.92 at tour level at the Adelaide International 1. He can return to world No. 1 for the first time since June 6 if he wins his record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title in Melbourne. The 35-year-old Serb also has past experience on his side when it comes to fighting for the top spot in the rankings. The seven-time year-end No. 1 has spent 373 weeks as world No. 1 during his career, more than any other player in history. Ruud, ranked No. 3, is chasing his first Grand Slam crown in Melbourne and achieving the feat would give the Norwegian a double reason to celebrate. He would become the first Norwegian World No. 1 at the age of 24, having already become the first ATP Tour champion, Nitto ATP Finals competitor and Grand Slam finalist from his country. If both Djokovic and Tsitsipas fall before the final in Melbourne, Ruud can seal the top spot by reaching the championship match. He reached that stage twice at Grand Slams in 2022, at Roland Garros and the US Open, where Alcaraz defeated him in what was a head-to-head battle to become world No.
Tsitsipas praises Djokovic
Stefanos Tsitsipas has no qualms admitting that nine-time champion Novak Djokovic remains the player to beat at Melbourne Park. “I think it’s good for his fans that he’s back, he’s able to play this year at the Australian Open. He’s one of the strongest players on the field. He’s still got it. He can still play. He can still go deep in the tournament,” he said. “He played well, very well, in Adelaide. He had some good matches there. It’s up to us to do something about it and to stop him,” he added.