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Djokovic, Alcaraz have exact same thoughts on blockbuster matchup: “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best”

It will be Carlos Alcaraz versus Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals. Alcaraz won their only previous meeting last year on clay.

Novak Djokovic, Roland-Garros 2023 Novak Djokovic, Roland-Garros 2023 Р© Michael Baucher / Panoramic

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic will be going head-to-head for just the second time in their careers when they clash in the Roland-Garros semi-finals on Friday.

Both players lost only one set on the way to making this highlight anticipated showdown a reality. Alcaraz defeated Flavio Cobolli in three, Taro Daniel in four, Denis Shapovalov in three, Lorenzo Musetti in three and Stefanos Tsitsipas in three. Djokovic got past Aleksandar Kovacevic in three, Marton Fucsovics in three, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in three, Juan Pablo Varillas in three, and Karen Khachanov in four.

First meeting: Alcaraz d. Djokovic at 2022 Madrid Masters

Surprisingly, Alcaraz and Djokovic have faced each other on only one previous occasion. In the semi-finals of the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open, the Spaniard prevailed 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) on his way to the title. An amazing run in Madrid saw Alcaraz beat Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Alexander Zverev back-to-back-to-back to lift the trophy.

Interestingly, this is just the second time all year that Alcaraz and Djokovic have been in the same half of the draw. It also happened at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, but Alcaraz lost his second round match to Fabian Marozsan and Djokovic succumbed to Holger Rune in the semis.

Alcaraz: “I’m really looking forward to that match being played at such a great level”

“I would say this match is the one everyone wants to watch,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview after beating Tsitsipas. “It’s going to be a really good match to play and to watch, as well. I really wanted to play this match; I always say that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. And Novak Djokovic right is one of the best players in the world.

“So it’s gonna be a really tough challenge for me, but I’m really looking forward to that match being played at such a great level.”

Djokovic : “That’s the match that a lot of people want to see”

“He carries himself very well,” Djokovic said of Alcaraz during his press conference on Tuesday. “No doubt (he’s a) very nice guy on and off the court; brings a lot of intensity on the court. (He) reminds me of someone from his country that plays with a left hand. He deserves his success, no doubt. He’s working hard, and he very complete player already and only age 20.

“So we played only once in Madrid last year, 7-6 in the third for him. We haven’t played since. Yeah, most of the tournaments this year we were not in the same draw but here we are.

“That’s the match that, a lot of people want to see. It’s definitely the biggest challenge for me so far in the tournament. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. He’s definitely a guy to beat here. I’m looking forward to that.”

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