Carlos Alcaraz eager for another crack at Novak Djokovic

By Sports Desk July 02, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz is eyeing up a rematch with Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon.

The pair met for the first time at a grand slam in the semi-finals of the French Open last month in the most anticipated match of the year so far.

For two pulsating sets it lived up to its billing before Alcaraz was struck down by cramp, which he later attributed to the tension of the situation.

With Alcaraz and Djokovic the top two seeds at the All England Club, a rematch could only come in the final, where the young Spaniard would be eager to show he has learned from what happened in Paris.

He is just the latest young player to discover what a hard nut to crack the big three of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are at grand slams and, while the latter two may no longer be a factor, Djokovic appears more of a favourite than ever.

“I would say the pressure that they put to everyone,” said Alcaraz when asked to name the hardest thing about facing Djokovic.

“Not only to me, to everyone to play at their best for three hours in a grand slam. I have to deal with that, but it’s something that I really want it. I hope to play a final here against him.”

The list of players who could potentially stop Djokovic winning a fifth successive title at Wimbledon may begin and end with Alcaraz.

The 20-year-old is far less experienced than his rival on grass in particular but showed how exceptionally quickly he learns by lifting the trophy at Queen’s Club last weekend, propelling him back past Djokovic to reclaim the world number one ranking.

“I started Queen’s with no expectation to win Queen’s and I won it,” he said. “I feel great playing such a great level. The confidence grew a lot.

“I’m coming here to Wimbledon with a lot of confidence, thinking that I’m able to do good results here. But, obviously, for me, the main favourite is Djokovic.

“My expectations are high. I think I will be able to put the pressure on the other players, even Djokovic as well. But all I can say is I feel with a lot of confidence and I feel ready to do good things here.”

Alcaraz, who faces retiring Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the first round on Tuesday, must first target bettering his run from last year, when he lost in the fourth round to fellow young gun Jannik Sinner.

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    "I'm feeling better," he smiled. "At least I can practise and hit balls without pain. That's a really good point for me. I came here to this tournament with not as many matches as I wanted, but I'm focusing on practice.

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