Carlos Alcaraz is relishing his "beautiful battle" with Novak Djokovic for the year-end world number one ranking, with the 20-year-old Spaniard saying on Wednesday it will give him extra motivation heading into the China Open.

Alcaraz has been the main challenger for Djokovic this year, beating him in the Wimbledon final, but the all-conquering Serb leapfrogged him into top spot en route to capturing his 24th Grand Slam title overall at the U.S. Open this month.

Ahead of his return to action in Beijing this week, world number two Alcaraz said he would be thinking about the top spot every time he trains and plays in a bid to close the gap on Djokovic.

"We have a really beautiful battle to be world number one, especially after the great performance Novak had in America," Alcaraz told reporters, referring to Djokovic's triumphs in Cincinnati and Flushing Meadows.

"Right now he's number one, so I come here with extra motivation to try to get him back and place first in the race. It's something that I keep in mind every time I'm training, I think about it in every tournament.

"It's not mandatory for me to recover it, but we have to set goals for the year. For me, the number one position is one of my main objectives, so in these big tournaments I'm going to go for it, to try to do well to be close and recover it."

Alcaraz is joined in a strong Beijing field by several big names including world number three Daniil Medvedev, who beat him in the U.S. Open semi-finals.

The Spaniard will start his campaign with a first-round clash against German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru Editing by Christian Radnedge)