Carlos Alcaraz is the Wimbledon champion for the first time in his career after defeating Novak Djokovic in a five set thriller. Djokovic hadn’t lost at Wimbledon since 2017 and he hadn’t lost on Centre Court since 2013 but was outmuscled in a five set epic by the Spaniard. It was a nervous and tentative start from Alcaraz as he failed to deal with the windy conditions with Djokovic finding his imperious form early on. The Spaniard committed a number of tactical and technical unforced errors as Djokovic stayed consistently aggressive. Djokovic returned extremely aggressively as he took a 5-0 lead against an erratic Alcaraz with the Spaniard unable to find his aggressive tennis.
However the Spaniard gradually worked his way back into the match and after losing a one-sided opening set 6-1, found his confidence as he broke early on in the second set with some crushing baseline shots. In typical Djokovic fashion, the defending champion broke immediately back as he roared to the energetic Centre Court crowd as he was insistent on holding onto his Wimbledon dominance.
Both players produced brutal hitting from the baseline with Alcaraz being tentative as to when to come into the net and establish authority. It was a serving masterclass from both players as there was a sense that the Spaniard had to win the tiebreak that was about to follow and win it he did. The seven-time champion took initial dominance soaring to a 3-0 lead before some uncharacteristic errors from Djokovic let Alcaraz back into the match.
The Spaniard was relentless on return, creating opportunities to attack the Djokovic backhand and that’s exactly what Alcaraz. An aggressive end to the tiebreak from Alcaraz saw him take the tiebreak 8-6 and levelled the match at one set all, creating a spectacle. That spectacle was about to get even bigger when Alcaraz carried the momentum into the second set, breaking in the opening game with a mix of power and variety.
Djokovic had lost his dominance and with it his consistency as he desperately searched for the break back. The world number one fended off Djokovic’s pressure in the fourth game and instead implemented the reverse card as he created multiple break points. The Serb had some words to say to the crowd and the umpire as some controversial calls went against him in an extraordinary 25 minute game.
An extraordinary fifth game of the third set ended with another Alcaraz break as he was now winning the stamina battle against the physically stronger Djokovic. There was nothing left for the Serb to offer in the third set as Alcaraz was tactically outsmarting last year’s champion. Another break of serve and Alcaraz now had the lead in this final as he took a two sets to one lead.
How would Djokovic respond to unfamiliar territory? Just like champions do with mental resilience and improving his level as he refused to bow down to Alcaraz’s momentum and aggression on return. The Serb saved two break points in the second game and would turn the tables on Alcaraz in emphatic fashion. Djokovic snatched the momentum from the world number one in the fifth game and ended the set with a phenomenal return game. An Alcaraz double fault sealed the fourth set for Djokovic as this match got what it deserved and that’s a fifth set.
The drama and tension went up a notch in the fifth set as both players looked cagey and tense on serve as it was a break point saved each. However it was Alcaraz who found the right mix between incredible defence and thunderous attack as it was Djokovic who blinked first in this final set. A stunning passing shot past a frustrated Alcaraz secured the early break for a 2-1 lead as Djokovic shattered his racket into the net while the Spaniard shattered his way past Djokovic’s defence. Alcaraz would continue to serve imperiously as Djokovic’s frustration turned into dejection as the Spaniard showed no signs of nerves as the Spaniard continued to implement his accurate drop shots.
The risky tactic nearly backfired as Djokovic looked to take advantage of the Spaniard’s nerves but Alcaraz held his nerve and unleashed his powerful serve to seal a famous victory as he won his second Grand Slam title and regained his world number one ranking.
Alcaraz describes Wimbledon triumph as ‘special moment’
History is made for Alcaraz as he wins his first Wimbledon title and with it regains his world number one. The Spaniard is the first player to beat Djokovic on Centre Court in over ten years as he sealed his second Grand Slam title.
After the match Alcaraz said this was a ‘special moment’ not only for himself but his family.
“Yeah, it’s big moment not just for me, but for my family, for all the people around me. It’s really, really special moment,” Alcaraz said.
“I start playing tennis thanks my dad. Really huge fan of tennis. I mean, he was watching tennis before I was born. It’s crazy. His whole life, it’s about tennis. I think for them, watching his kid making history, lifting the trophy, winning Wimbledon, is something incredible for them.
“For me to have them there, giving them a big hug, it’s something that I will never forget. I hope to have a photo from that moment ’cause I’m going to keep forever.
“It’s a dream come true for me, being a Wimbledon champion, something that I really wanted. Honestly, I didn’t expect to get it really soon. Yeah, it’s time to enjoy and share everything, all my feelings. Yeah, as I said, it’s a dream.”
A dream come true for Alcaraz indeed as he continues his path to a historic career by defeating the greatest of all time. Speaking of the greats of the game, some people may think that today is a passing of the torch as this will be labelled as a significant victory for the younger generation.
However the world number one dismissed those claims and said he was doing today for himself.
“Well, I did it for myself, not for tennis generation, honestly. It was great,” Alcaraz stated.
“Beating Novak at his best, in this stage, making history, being the guy to beat him after 10 years unbeaten on that court, is amazing for me. It’s something that I will never forget, that’s for sure.
“As I said, it’s great for the new generation, as well, I think to see me beating him and making them think that they are capable to do it, as well. It’s great for me and I think for the young players, as well.”
A great achievement for Alcaraz as he will now rest up an focus on his US Open title defence later this year. However for now the Spaniard is now soaking up what he calls the biggest moment of his career so far.
“Well, right now, yeah, is the happiest moment of my life, that’s for sure,” Alcaraz explained.
“Right now, I’m 20, I didn’t live too many situations like this, so I’m going to enjoy this moment. Making history that I did today, it’s, yeah, the happiest moment of my life.
“I think it’s not going to change for a long time. Yeah, like beating Novak, winning Wimbledon championship is something that I dream about since I start to playing tennis. That’s why is the biggest moment of my life.”
Djokovic hoping for Alcaraz rivalry as he rues missed opportunities
Djokovic’s Wimbledon reign over as the Serb couldn’t make it five consecutive titles at SW19. A positive European swing for the Serb still as he won a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title at Roland Garros but would have disappointed with not winning another Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
Djokovic opened up his press conference by praising Alcaraz’s level as he admitted it was an epic match.
“Yeah, I mean, as I said on the court, I’ve won some epic finals that I was very close to losing. Maybe this is kind of a fair-and-square deal I guess to lose a match like this for me here,” Djokovic said.
“Even though it hurts, it’s never easy to lose a close match. Credit to Carlos. Amazing poise in the important moments. 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… I thought I returned very well that last game, but he was just coming up with some amazing, amazing shots.
“Yeah, congratulations to him and to his team. What a tournament for him. What a match today to be part of. I hope, everyone enjoyed it.”
It’s a rivalry that will give Djokovic motivation to come back and achieve more greatness going forwards. After the tough loss the Serb reflected on a potential rivalry with the World number one and is determined to continue that rivalry in New York.
“I would hope so, for my sake,” Djokovic said.
“He’s going to be on the tour for quite some time. I don’t know how long I’ll be around. Yeah, I mean, let’s see. It’s been only three matches that we played against each other. Three really close matches. Two already this year in later stages of Grand Slams.
“Yeah, I hope we get to play in US Open. Why not? I think it’s good for the sport, 1 and 2 in the world facing each other in almost a five-hours, five-set thriller. Couldn’t be better for our sport in general, so why not?
“But, yeah, grass, I must say he surprised me. He surprised everyone how quickly he adapted to grass this year. He hasn’t had too many wins on grass in the last two years that he played. Obviously him coming from clay, having the kind of style that he has. I think Queen’s helped him a lot. He was close to lose that first match, opening match, in Queen’s. Then he started to gain momentum, more and more wins against really good players.
“I must say the slices, the kind of chipping returns, the net play, it’s very impressive. I didn’t expect him to play so well this year on grass, but he’s proven that he’s the best player in the world, no doubt. He’s playing some fantastic tennis on different surfaces and he deserves to be where he is.”
There’s no doubting Alcaraz is a worthy winner but Djokovic will be rueing his missed chances especially in the second and fifth sets. This is something Djokovic noted after the match as he noted in his press conference.
“I would say tiebreak in the second. The backhands kind of let me down, to be honest,” Djokovic confessed.
“Set point, I missed the backhand. He did play a backhand that was quite long in the court, had a little bit of a bad bounce. But I should not have missed that shot. Then on 6-All, again, another backhand from middle of the court in the net. Just two very poor backhands. That’s it. The match shifted to his side. It turned around. He just raised his level so much in the third. I wasn’t myself for quite some time.
“I managed to regroup and regain the momentum midway in the fourth. I felt that the momentum shifted to my side. That was my chance. That was my opportunity. That break point, I think I played a really good point, kind of set up that drive volley. It was very, very windy today. The wind kind of, yeah, took it to an awkward place where I couldn’t hit the smash, I had to hit the drive volley kind of falling back. I saw him perfectly running to the opposite corner. I kind of wanted to wrong-foot him with that drive volley, and I missed. Obviously he made a break the next game, which was obviously enough to hold the serve till the end.
“Some regrets. I had my chances. I think I could have closed out that second-set tiebreaker better.”
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