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‘If You Wanna Be the Best, You Have to Beat the Best’- Carlos Alcaraz Relishes Djokovic Rivalry

World number one Carlos Alcaraz said he is lucky to have Novak Djokovic as a rival on the ATP Tour as it gives him the chance to test himself against one of the sport’s greatest players.

Djokovic was deported from Australia in the lead-up to the season’s first Grand Slam in January for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and missed several tournaments including the U.S. Open, where Spaniard Alcaraz claimed his maiden major.

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With Djokovic granted a visa to travel Down Under next year — where he will target a 10th Australian Open title — Alcaraz said he was looking forward to a potential meeting with the 21-times Grand Slam champion.

“Tennis is better having the best players in the world, and for the fans as well it’s good to see a tournament with the best players,” Alcaraz told reporters at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.

“I want to see Novak play in every tournament. I always say if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best player in the world. I’m a lucky guy to have him on the tour.”

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Alcaraz enjoyed a superb 2022 which he finished as the year-end number one and said he was nearing full fitness ahead of the new season, having missed the ATP Finals and Davis Cup due to an abdominal injury sustained at the Paris Masters.

“I feel good finally. I had a month to recover… and right now I feel almost 100%. I have been training normally this past week and I’m feeling great,” Alcaraz said.

“Of course having a target on my back from everyone is going to be a little bit different for me this year and I have to be prepared for that.

“I’m going to try to finish 2023 in the same position as now. It’s going to be a long year but I’m going to enjoy it.”

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