Carlos Alcaraz believes his “dream” win at Wimbledon against Novak Djokovic may signal a changing of the guard in men’s tennis.
Alcaraz ended Djokovic’s run of four consecutive Wimbledon titles with an epic 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory in a history-making final on Sunday.
The 20-year-old wore Djokovic down in four hours and 42 minutes of unrelenting drama on Center Court, clinching his first Wimbledon crown and the second major title of his career.
After two decades of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal dominating the sport, Alcaraz says his win could be the start of a new era.
“It’s a dream. I’m 20 years old. I didn’t experience many moments like this. Making history like I did today is the happiest moment of my life,” said Alcaraz.
“To beat Novak in his prime on this stage, to make history, to be the guy who beat him after 10 unbeaten years on this court is incredible to me.
“It’s great for the new generation to see me beat him and make them think that they are capable of doing it too. It’s great for me, and also for the young players.”
When Djokovic won his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2008, Alcaraz was still three months shy of his fifth birthday.
But with Federer retired and Nadal nearing the end of his glittering career, Alcaraz has emerged as Djokovic’s biggest challenger.
Alcaraz, who won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, replaced the Serb at the top of the world rankings and his victory at Wimbledon may hasten the rise of a new generation to replace the “Big Three”.
“Beating Novak, winning Wimbledon is something I dreamed of since I started playing tennis,” Alcaraz said.
Djokovic was aiming to equal a record in his eighth Wimbledon title and could also have matched Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24 Grand Slam singles crowns.
Instead, the 36-year-old leaves Wimbledon licking his wounds after beating the relentless Alcaraz.
In an ominous warning to Djokovic, Alcaraz said his victory at the All England Club may set the stage for further success when they meet again.
‘I grew a lot’
“Probably before today I didn’t think I was ready to beat Djokovic in five sets in an epic match like this, to stay physically and mentally fit against a legend like Djokovic,” Alcaraz.
“I will remember this moment in other Grand Slams and I think I am ready to play five sets against him. It probably made me change my mind a bit.”
Alcaraz’s previous clash with Djokovic had ended in defeat in the French Open semifinals in June, when the Spaniard broke down after suffering from stress-related cramps.
Learning from that painful loss, this time he controlled his nerves magnificently.
“I am such a different player since the French Open. I grew a lot. I took lessons from that party. I prepared myself a little differently mentally,” he said.
“I managed the nerves better than at the French Open. I fought until the last ball. It was a long game. The mental part allowed me to stay there for five sets.
“If I had lost the second set I probably wouldn’t have been able to get the trophy, I probably would have lost in straight sets. That gave me a lot of motivation.”
Djokovic’s frustration at Alcaraz’s stubborn resistance boiled over when he smashed his racket into the net post after being broken in the final set.
But the Serb had no complaints about the loss and even called Alcaraz a combination of himself, Federer and Nadal.
When asked about that glowing tribute, the ultra-confident Alcaraz said: “It’s crazy for Novak to say that. But I consider myself a really complete player.
“I have the shots, the physical strength, the mental strength.
“He’s probably right. But I don’t want to think about it. I am the full Carlos Alcaraz, let’s say ”.
subscribe to ASK MORE to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other titles, share up to 5 devices, listen to the news, download from 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For comments, complaints or queries, Contact Us.