Carlos Alcaraz was recently crowned as the 2022 year-end World No. 1. With his compatriot Rafael Nadal ranked No. 2, the Spaniards became the first non-American pair to finish a season in the top two spots of the ATP rankings.
Nadal and Alcaraz have won three of the four Grand Slam titles between them this year, with the former winning the Australian Open and the French Open, and the latter taking home the US Open title. They also won four ATP Masters titles between them, with the 36-year-old winning the titles in Melbourne and Acapulco while the 19-year-old triumphed at Rio, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid.
The list of compatriots ending the year as the No.1 and No. 2 to date had only Americans on it. The 1980s saw John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors finish a season in the top two spots thrice. Ivan Lendl then shared the feat with McEnroe in 1983 and 1985.
Fellow Americans Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi reigned together thrice in the 1990s. Michael Chang then shared the top two ranks with the 14-time Grand Slam winner Pete Sampras in 1996.
Rafael Nadal to begin 2023 season at United Cup
Rafael Nadal is set to begin his 2023 season at the maiden edition of the United Cup, which carries $15 million in prize money and has both ATP and WTA ranking points for grabs. Mixed teams from 18 countries will be competing in the tournament, with the countries taking part being seeded based on their WTA and ATP rankings.
The former World No. 1 will head the Spanish team that includes the likes of Paula Badosa and Pablo Carreno Busta. Carlos Alcaraz will not be competing as he is still recovering from an injury, giving the 36-year-old a possible opportunity to inch closer towards the top spot in the ATP rankings. The tournament will also give him time on the court to compete with some of the top players like Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Stefanos Tsitsipas before heading to the Australian Open.
In the year's first Major, the Spaniard will be chasing his 23rd Grand Slam title as the defending champion. Hot on his heels, however, will be Novak Djokovic, who will be hoping to equal Nadal's record of 22 Grand Slams in Melbourne.