By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Tennis Writer
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open championship returned him to a rather familiar spot on Monday: No. 1 in the ATP rankings.
His four-place rise from No. 5 to replace Carlos Alcaraz at No. 1 is the largest jump to the top spot in the 50-year history of the computerized rankings for men’s tennis.
“You never know how much more time you have left, so, of course, I nurture and celebrate these moments of becoming No. 1 again and Grand Slam champion,” the 35-year-old Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) in the final at Melbourne Park on Sunday night, “even more than I have, maybe ever in my career. I don’t take it for granted.”
Aryna Sabalenka’s first major title moved her up from No. 5 to a career-best-equaling No. 2 in the WTA rankings, behind only three-time major champion Iga Swiatek.
Ons Jabeur, twice a finalist at Slams in 2022, went from No. 2 to No. 3, followed by No. 4 Jessica Pegula, No. 5 Caroline Garcia and No. 6 Coco Gauff.
The player Sabalenka beat in Saturday’s Australian Open final, Elena Rybakina, makes her top 10 debut at No. 10, up from No. 25.
This marks Djokovic’s 374th week leading the ATP, adding to his record. He earned a 10th title at the Australian Open and tied Rafael Nadal with 22 Grand Slam trophies.
Alcaraz slid to No. 2. He had become the youngest man to be No. 1 when he took over at age 19 after winning the U.S. Open last September. Alcaraz missed the Australian Open because of a leg injury.
Nadal, who hurt his left hip flexor during a second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald of the United States, dropped from No. 2 to No. 6.
Tsitsipas went from No. 4 to No. 3 because of his run in Melbourne; he would have been No. 1 for the first time if he had managed to win the title. Casper Ruud, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up who lost in the second round to Jenson Brooksby of the United States, went from No. 3 to No. 4. Andrey Rublev is No. 5 after getting to the quarterfinals.
Cracking the top 20 for the first time is Tommy Paul, a 25-year-old American who reached his first Grand Slam semifinal before exiting against Djokovic. Paul’s showing in Melbourne lifted him 16 spots from No. 25 to No. 19.
He is one of 10 U.S. men in the top 50, something that last happened in 1995.
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