Tennis news
into your inbox

Thousands have already subscribed

“I haven’t played a player like him ever” – Djokovic on new Wimbledon champion, Carlos Alcaraz

Novak Djokovic believes that Alcaraz combines all the best parts of Federer, Nadal, and himself

Djokovic and Alcaraz, Wimbledon, 2023 Djokovic and Alcaraz embrace after Wimbledon final 2023 © Action Plus / Panoramic

Novak Djokovic knew he was in the presence of greatness during his five-set defeat in the Wimbledon final.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion was full of praise for his 20-year-old opponent during the emotional haze of his on-court interview, but he has added some context to his compliments during his post-match press conference.

When asked who Djokovic would most compare Carlos Alcaraz to, the Serb’s response was an ominous one for the rest of the field.

“I think people have been talking in the past 12 months or so about his game consisting of certain elements from Roger, Rafa, and myself.

“I would agree with that. I think he’s got basically best of all three worlds.”

Djokovic then went on to praise the emotional and mental maturity that Alcaraz already displays at just 20 years of age.

“He’s got this mental resilience and really maturity for someone who is 20 years old. It’s quite impressive.

“He’s got this Spanish bull mentality of competitiveness and fighting spirit and incredible defence that we’ve seen with Rafa over the years.

“And I think he’s got some nice sliding backhands that he’s got some similarities with my backhands. Yeah, two-handed backhands, defence, being able to adapt.

“I think that has been my personal strength for many years. He has it, too.”

I haven’t played a player like him, ever.

Djokovic on what makes Alcaraz so special

It is a sobering prospect for the rest of the tour that Djokovic would describe Alcaraz as a combination of all the best parts of three greatest men’s players of all time.

Yet, it is also quite true.

The Spaniard has the elasticity of Djokovic, contorting his body into all sorts of gymnastic stretches to retrieve balls others simply could not.

He has the firepower and Spanish intensity of his compatriot, Rafael Nadal, smothering opponents with the ferocious weight of his forehand.

Most remarkably, Alcaraz also has the balletic touch of Roger Federer, terminating high-octane full-throttle rallies with drop shots as light as a feather.

As Djokovic puts it, “I haven’t played a player like him ever, to be honest.

“Roger and Rafa have their own obviously strengths and weaknesses. Carlos is very complete player. Amazing adapting capabilities that I think are a key for longevity and for successful career on all surfaces.”

For a player whose least favoured surface was the grass prior to this season’s grass-court swing, the unavoidable question now is how the next generation will hope to compete with this absolute phenomenon.

Time will tell whether they, or indeed Djokovic, come up with the answer.

For now, Novak’s unfinished sentence when summing up Alcaraz’s performance perhaps says more than words ever really could.

“For someone of his age to handle the nerves like this, be playing attacking tennis, and to close out the match the way he did…”


People in this post

Your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *