Carlos Alcaraz from Spain (Getty Images)
- Runner-up Novak Djokovic believes the 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz is a copy of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
- Djokovic fell short of a record-breaking Grand Slam and singles title as the world number one claimed his maiden title at Wimbledon.
- Djokovic admits it’s hard to swallow but praises Alcaraz.
Novak Djokovic believes that Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz possesses “the best of all three worlds”, as he reproduces the talents of himself, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Alcaraz defeated world number one Djokovic 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final Sunday after four hours and 42 minutes of center court action.
The result smashed the 36-year-old Djokovic’s bid to claim a record-equalling eighth All England Club title and 24th Grand Slam title.
Asked what makes the 20-year-old Alcaraz such a threat, the Serbian star explained that he copied his weapons, as well as Federer and Nadal – tennis’s “big three” who have 65 Grand Slam titles.
“I think he’s got the best of all three worlds,” said Djokovic.
“People have been talking the last 12 months or so about his game being made up of certain elements of Roger, Rafa and me. I agree with that.”
Praising Alcaraz for his “strong Spanish competition mentality”, Djokovic sees similarities in Nadal’s famous fighting spirit and “incredible defense”.
Alcaraz’s backhand is straight out of Djokovic’s playbook.
“This has been my personal strength for many years,” he said.
“I’ve never played a player like him before, to be honest. Roger and Rafa clearly have their own strengths and weaknesses. Carlos is a very complete player.
“Amazing adaptive abilities that I believe are key to longevity and a successful career in all respects.”
In the immediate aftermath of his loss on Sunday, Djokovic was full of praise for Alcaraz.
Just last month, Djokovic defeated the Spaniard in the semi-finals of the French Open, with Alcaraz’s challenge undercut by the stress-induced body spasm of his opponent.
However, Alcaraz has now beaten Djokovic twice in their three meetings, having first beaten him on clay at last year’s Madrid Masters.
“What quality at the end of the match when you had to serve it,” Djokovic told the champion during the trophy distribution ceremony at Center Court.
“You can get some big plays in the big situation and you totally deserve it.
“It’s hard to swallow when you’re so close.”
Despite being undefeated on Center Court in 10 years, Djokovic, who won the previous four Wimbledon titles, insists he still has the desire to pursue titles at the Grand Slam.
He said after seeing his 34-game winning streak in the tournament come to an end. .
He praised Alcaraz, who now has two Grand Slam titles after his feat at last year’s US Open, and two titles on grass in just four surface tournaments.
“I thought I would only have a problem with you on clay and hard courts, but not on grass but now it’s a different story than this year obviously,” said the Serb, who briefly burst into tears as he addressed the crowd.
“I think when all the feelings are settled I should be very grateful. I’ve won many tight and close matches in the past here, to name a few – 2019 against Roger.
“I probably should have lost some finals that I won, so maybe that was Stevens.”
The result ended Djokovic’s hopes of trying his first men’s Grand Slam since 1969, having won the inaugural Australian and French Opens this year.
The last man to complete the sweep, Rod Laver, had high praise for both men.
“Carlos Alcaraz…. you definitely found your feet on the grass this summer, an amazing feat against one of the greatest champions of all time,” the Australian tweeted.
“Novak Djokovic. I’m sure there will be many more great fights between you two.”