More than three months after taking over the No. 1 ranking through a US Open title, Carlos Alcaraz still finds it hard to believe his current top ATP status.

The Spaniard who turns 20 next year will get a head start on the official 2023 season when he plays next weekend in the Abu Dhabi exhibition event.

Alcaraz is well aware that he now has a target on his back.

“This all sounds like a dream to me,” he told Arab News. “I’ve thought about my place in the standings right now and I still can’t believe it.

“Is it real? Am I number one in the world? I’m dreaming. It’s something I have to be aware of one day.”

Alcaraz, coached by former Spanish great Juan Carlos Ferrero, said that since his New York Grand Slam breakthrough he has not been able to fully consider his position.

He spent much of the autumn recovering from an abdominal injury suffered a month ago at the Paris Masters.

“I’ve played so many tournaments that I haven’t had time to fully assimilate the US Open,” he said.

“All I can say is that nothing has changed for me.

“Everyone wants to beat the No. 1; everyone had me in their sights and wanted to face me on the court.”

I have to be prepared for that.”