Carlos Alcaraz makes his return to tennis this week after three weeks off.

The world No. 2 last played at the US Open, where he was beaten in the semi-finals by Daniil Medvedev.
The 20-year-old is set to make his debut at the China Open in Beijing this week, where he is the top seed. The Murcian will play qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the opening round of the ATP 500 tournament.

In the Round of 32 of the China Open on Friday, Yannick Hanfmann (ranked No. 53) faces Carlos Alcaraz (No. 2).

Alcaraz has won six titles – including a maiden Wimbledon crown and two ATP Masters 1000 events – during a stellar campaign to date. The two-time Grand Slam winner holds a superb 58-7 (89.2%) overall win-loss record in 2023.

Hanfmann’s best performance so far this season has been reaching the quarterfinals of the Italian Open, beating the likes of Taylor Fritz and Andrey Rublev.

Will Alcaraz return and stamp his mark on the tour again, just as he has done previously when Djokovic has been out? Or could Medvedev cause him more problems? Might others even step up and challenge Alcaraz as the tour returns to China for the first time since 2019?

The Wimbledon champion has a tricky-looking draw, potentially facing Zhuhai winner Karen Khachanov in his second match, with Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner also in the same half of the draw.

Speaking to the media in Beijing ahead of his first appearance since the US Open earlier this month, Alcaraz discussed some of his goals for the rest of this year and next season.

“Next year I will try to play the four Grand Slams, I hope not to miss any of them. I will try to do the same things I am doing this year, I could be more than happy if at this point I won the same tournaments that I have won this season, I am happy with my results in 2023 so far,” said the world No 2.

The tournament is followed by the ATP 1000 Shanghai Masters.

Alcaraz returns with the chance to overtake Djokovic as world No. 1 before the season finishes, and will look to build momentum ahead of making his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz is now the rivalry to watch in men’s tennis and after three hugely significant matches between the pair in 2023, the Serbian is looking forward to more meetings with Alcaraz down the line. “Hopefully I’ll play him as many times as I played the other guys”, said Djokovic, alluding to his memorable career tussles with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

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