Carlos Alcaraz had mixed emotions after being gifted a route into the second round of the US Open because his opponent retired injured.

Dominik Koepfer rolled his ankle in the opening game of the match and needed a medical time out to have it heavily bandaged.

He valiantly carried on, at one point telling the chair umpire: “I’m trying not to retire after 20 minutes because of freaking 20,000 people in the stadium.”

But the 29-year-old was clearly in a lot of pain and called it a night with Alcaraz leading 6-2 3-2.

Defending champion Alcaraz said: “Obviously I want to play battles. I want to play the full matches. This is not the best way to win a match.

“But obviously, playing the night session, I’m happy to come back early, have some rest. Well, a little bit more than I expect before starting the match.

“It’s going to be better for me to recover into the next round.”

Alcaraz’s new sleeveless look drew more comparisons with his fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal and his US Open victory in 2019.

“I was thinking about Rafa when he wore that. He won that US Open, right?” added the 20-year-old.

“I love to wear that sometimes in some specific tournaments. Here in the US Open, I was supposed to play last year. This year it’s a good, good outfit, so I love it.”

Daniil Medvedev, the 2021 champion, dropped just two games as he rolled over 34-year-old Hungarian Attila Balazs.

Alexander Zverev, the runner-up in 2020, is also through to the second round with a straight-sets win over Australian Aleksandar Vukic.

Cameron Norrie turned to defending champion Carlos Alcaraz to help him into the second round at the US Open.

The British number one practised with the world number one on Monday before dismantling Alexander Shevchenko of Russia 6-3 6-2 6-2.

It was just the sort of performance Norrie needed after losing his previous three matches on the hard courts.

And the 16th seed credited Spanish superstar Alcaraz for his improved display.

“We had a really good practice and I think it really set the tone yesterday and I was able to put it into my match today,” he said.

“He’s always enjoying the practice and bringing a lot of flair and excitement to the practice court.

“It was not an easy match. Shevchenko has had a good year so far. I know his game quite well, I’d practiced with him a few times.

“I was able to play longer points and win some of the tough games. It was a nice match to play in the first round to get a lot of rhythm.”

Norrie will face qualifier Yu Hsiou Hsu, the world number 237, in round two after his surprise win over Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Novak Djokovic has had his fair share of rivalries over his career but says the latest, with Carlos Alcaraz, is bringing the very best out of him.

Djokovic begins his quest for a 24th grand slam title at the US Open on Monday having already eclipsed the totals of his illustrious peers, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

But the man likely to be standing in his way is Alcaraz, the defending champion who beat Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last month.

Djokovic got a measure of revenge when he outlasted the 20-year-old Spaniard in a near four-hour final in Cincinnati a week ago.

The duo may be at the opposite end of their careers but they have already built a rivalry which looks set to endure for as long as Djokovic, 36, continues to pick up a racket.

“He’s always pushing me to the limit,” said the Serbian. “I think I do to him pretty much the same thing. That’s why we produced a memorable final.

“It was one of the best, most exciting, and most difficult finals I was ever part of in best-of-three, no doubt, throughout my career.

“That’s why I fell on the ground after I won the match because it felt like winning a grand slam, to be honest. The amount of exchanges and rallies. It was physically so demanding and gruelling that I felt very exhausted for the next few days.

“Those are kind of the moments in matches that I still push myself on a daily basis, day in and day out, practice, sacrifice, commitment. At 36, I still have the drive.”

If Djokovic wins his first-round match, against Frenchman Alexandre Muller, he will overtake Alcaraz to become world number one again.

Alcaraz, the top seed, starts his campaign on Tuesday against Dominik Koepfer of Germany.

Iga Swiatek opens proceedings on Monday against Rebecca Peterson of Sweden as she bids to defend the title she won last year.

“On one hand you always want to kind of take experience from last year, find all these positive things that happened, take strength from that,” said the world number one from Poland.

“On the other hand you have to remember that it’s a totally different story. A lot can happen during like these 12 months.

“So I try to take everything step by step, not really go forward with my thoughts, think that I need to do something more because last year I won.”

World number one Carlos Alcaraz defeated Tommy Paul in a three-set thriller to reach the quarter-finals of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

Wimbledon champion Alcaraz outlasted the American 7-6 (6) 6-7(0) 6-3 in a gruelling contest that lasted more than three hours.

The Spaniard suffered a three-set defeat against the American in the quarter-finals at the Toronto Masters last week.

Paul got the first break to lead 4-2, before Alcaraz rallied to bring up the tie-break, which he eventually claimed 8-6.

The second set proved another tight affair, with both players losing three service games at 5-5.

Paul saved three match points in a marathon 12th game which lasted more than 15 minutes to go into another tie-break.

This time, though, the American took control after an early mini-break to race into a 3-0 lead before then sweeping it to love.

Alcaraz broke in the first game of the deciding set, which he was leading 4-3 when rain forced play to be suspended after three hours and two minutes of a pulsating contest.

Following a delay of around an hour, the players headed out on court – but the match was soon paused again as the drizzle returned along with strong winds before the pair went off back inside.

When they were finally able to return to the court, Alcaraz picked up where he left off, clinching the next two games and sealing a trip to the quarter-finals.

Earlier on Thursday, Alexander Zverev battled past world number three Daniil Medvedev 6-4 5-7 6-4 to end a four-match losing streak against the Russian.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, the fourth seed, is out after he was beaten 6-3 6-4 by Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who recorded a first win over a top-10 ranked player in six matches.

Hurkacz goes on to play lucky loser Alexei Popyrin after the Australian earlier defeated Emil Ruusuvuori 6-2 1-6 6-3 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final.

Zverev will face Adrian Mannarino in the last eight. The Frenchman progressed after American wildcard Mackenzie McDonald retired during the second set of their third-round match, with Mannarino ahead 6-4 3-0.

The run of veteran Swiss Stan Wawrinka – who had been given a wildcard entry and knocked out 10th seed Frances Tiafoe in the last round – was ended with a 6-4 6-2 defeat by qualifier Max Purcell.

The Australian, who upset world number seven Casper Ruud on Wednesday, will next face Alcaraz.

Carlos Alcaraz edged past Ben Shelton 6-3 7-6 (3) in his first ATP Tour match since the world number one’s Wimbledon victory over Novak Djokovic.

The Spaniard will face Hubert Hurkacz in the round of 16 of the National Bank Open in Toronto after defeating the fiery American in a competitive affair.

After an even start, a break of serve in the fourth game gave Alcaraz enough of a gap to wrap up the first set in 42 minutes.

The second set was even more competitive, with neither man able to break his opponent until the world number one sealed the victory in a tiebreak.

Meanwhile, American qualifier Marcos Giron upset fifth seed Holger Rune 6-2 4-6 6-3 to set up a third-round clash with compatriot Tommy Paul.

Earlier, veteran Gael Monfils stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-3, while home favourite Milos Raonic continued his resurgence by seeing off qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4 6-3.

American Mackenzie McDonald knocked out sixth seed Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-3, and second seed Daniil Medvedev is safely through after a 6-2 7-5 win over Matteo Arnaldi.

Iva Majoli sees shades of both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic within Carlos Alcaraz.

Spaniard Alcaraz cemented his place as world number one by beating Djokovic in five sets to clinch the Wimbledon title earlier in July.

That marked Alcaraz's second major title following his US Open triumph last year, his sixth crown of 2023 and his 12th tournament win overall.

Alcaraz is often compared to his compatriot Nadal, but Majoli – who won the French Open in 1997 – believes there is an element of Djokovic to the 20-year-old's game too.

Asked which of the 'big three' of Nadal, Djokovic and the retired Roger Federer that Alcaraz can be most compared with, Majoli told Stats Perform: "Rafa was his idol growing up and he's a Spaniard, so I would probably put him as closest to Rafa, but I think he also has some touches from Novak.

"Maybe the least from Federer, but I would say between Rafa and Novak there are many amazing things."

Alcaraz is the figurehead of a new generation of talents.

Majoli added: "Holger Rune is another youngster also in the top five or top six in the world. So I think this could be an amazing battle in the next couple of years.

"But of course, there is also Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud, there are so many players, who are still very young. It's an amazing generation that's going to be led by Carlos Alcaraz."

Djokovic's defeat to Alcaraz at Wimbledon ended the 36-year-old's hopes of sealing the Grand Slam this year, but Majoli still sees him as the greatest.

"He is the GOAT. He is unbelievable. And what he has achieved, I don't know if anyone can ever achieve on all the surfaces of all the tournaments," she added.

"He broke most of the records and he's just from another planet, I say. I still feel that he has a few more grand slams in him.

"[The Wimbledon final] was just an amazing final, very close. It could have gone both ways. I think at the end, Carlos showed the guts and went for the shots.

"I'm sure he was nervous, but he wasn't showing it to us. But the US Open is coming up soon and I think Novak will be another hard one to beat there."

Nadal, meanwhile, is likely to retire next year.

"Where do I start? Winning 14 Roland Garros, I don't think anyone will ever break that record," Majoli said of Nadal's impact on tennis.

"That's probably going to stay in the history of tennis and just what a humble and amazing person he is, and how much he contributes to the world of tennis. It will be his legacy."

Rafael Nadal's impact on tennis has been "tremendous" but Marion Bartoli believes he already has a natural successor in Carlos Alcaraz.

The 22-time major champion confirmed he plans to retire next year following a decorated career that has seen him claim nearly every major honour in tennis.

His exit would leave just one of the sport's 'Big Three' left, in Novak Djokovic, following Roger Federer's retirement last year following the Laver Cup.

While Bartoli feels Nadal's legacy speaks for itself, she also suggests the rise of Alcaraz, who took his second grand slam at Wimbledon earlier this month, might mitigate his departure from the world stage.

"[His impact is] tremendous, but in some ways for him, because Alcaraz is Spanish, it almost feels like the torch has been passed," the 2013 Wimbledon champion told Stats Perform.

"[It is] the new generation that is starting to win, starting to be the best in the world. It might feel less like he's leaving tennis.

"Look at Roger. In Switzerland, there is nobody coming after [him]. In Spain, there is already somebody winning. Rafa will probably accept that, but it's never easy to walk away from something you have done for many years.

"That you have been so successful, that is part of your DNA, part of you, something that everybody recognises you for [in] being that amazing champion at Roland Garros."

Bartoli believes Nadal's decision has been made with an eye on the future, and acknowledges that the physical cost of his profession has to be considered.

"It's not easy to say that you're not going to play at Roland Garros again," she added. "That's just what you have to recover from. I think Rafa has been laying out his future really well.

"He's going into business, he's a father now. He has so many things to look forward to, but he has to preserve his body enough, so he doesn't have pains that stop him from living normally.

"As an athlete, when you walk away from your career, you don't want to have damaged your body so much that you can't even enjoy normal things in normal life.

"Rafa is at that point where he has to think whether it's worth giving it a final go or whether it's not worth it because it will damage his body long term."

Novak Djokovic's status as the greatest of all time is unharmed despite his Wimbledon final defeat, says Marion Bartoli.

Djokovic's hopes of winning a fifth straight Wimbledon title and a joint-record eighth overall were ended by a superb performance from Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won in five sets to clinch a second grand slam despite only turning 20 in May.

Now 36, Djokovic has won 23 grand slams, more than any other male player, and though he missed the chance for a record-extending 24th at SW19 last weekend, Bartoli maintains his position as the greatest ever cannot be questioned. 

"If you have three or four more grand slams than anyone else, how can you even start the conversation?" she told Stats Perform. "The conversation is over.

"You can sort of go into more details with the surface but overall, especially when you look at the head-to-head and we know that Novak is leading the head-to-head against Roger [Federer] and against Rafa [Nadal].

"We know he's leading on the weeks at number one in the world. We know he has won all the grand slams three times and even more. You know, we know all those numbers. So then, what else do you need?"

For all of Djokovic's success, he has not always proved the most popular of players, in stark contrast to his 'Big Three' rivals Federer and Nadal.

Bartoli does not feel this plays into the conversation of who is the best ever and believes Djokovic can continue to challenge for grand slams in the coming years despite his advanced age. 

"If it's then how much you're liked by the crowd," Bartoli said. "That is something that is, you know, not a fact. That's purely an emotion, so you can't judge based on emotions.

"Even now, when you split the first three grand slams [of 2023] only with two players [Djokovic and Alcaraz], it's fair to say that the rest of the field is not quite at the same level as them, so Novak can sustain that level [at the top for longer]."

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic are clearly ahead of the rest of the men's singles field, but Marion Bartoli believes both can be caught.

Alcaraz denied Djokovic a fifth straight Wimbledon title last weekend with a stunning five-set victory at SW19, to secure the 20-year-old Spaniard a second grand slam title.

As a pair, Alcaraz and Djokovic have now won the last five grand slams stretching back to last year's Wimbledon, and Bartoli feels they are far ahead of the chasing pack.

The former Wimbledon champion however suggests that gap could motivate others to work on their own game in order to catch up.

"Very much, when you look at the first three grand slams [of 2023], it's clear that there is Novak, Carlos and the rest and there is quite a gap between those two and the rest," she told Stats Perform.

"That's quite obvious with the results. That said, I think that's going to push them to sort of catch back just like Novak did with Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal].

"With [them] having more Grand Slams than him and wanting to be part of the conversation, that just pushed him to elevate his level.

"I think it's going to be the case on the ATP. I don't think the guys are going to look at Carlos and Novak saying 'Oh my god, they're just untouchable, and we're going to lose to them'.

"I think they're going to really try hard. Especially I can see [Holger] Rune, I can see [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, I can see [Daniil] Medvedev, all those and [Jannik] Sinner, being very eager and very hungry to just go and chase.

"I'm sure they can actually push them to work harder on their game to come up with something even better. So I don't see it as a runaway completely and there is no opposition.

"I think maybe it's going to take a little bit of time before they reach that level, but I just don't think it's going to be that easy in a way for Novak and Carlos to just win everything without having a say from the other players."

Bartoli, who won at SW19 in 2013 before retiring in 2018, believes Alcaraz has taken the best qualities of the 'Big Three' of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer and feels he is one of those spearheading a new era in tennis.

"In the eras before, when you look at Pete Sampras, and all those players, it was one way to play and then if you would take that play away it was a lot more difficult for them," she explained. 

"If you take Alcaraz for me, what is very interesting is he has almost the best of Novak, Roger and Rafa combined and that is new. I think it's very much sort of total tennis, when you feel there is just not one department that maybe is lacking a little bit.

"There is a lot of players from this or sort of the past generation that are not that complete, who are really going to suffer against those new kids like Alcaraz, Rune and Sinner who are coming in and just having nothing you feel that they could really do better.

"In that sense, I think that's going to be the new sort of tennis we will see for the next 10 to 20 years."

Novak Djokovic will remain a force at the top of men's tennis despite the disruption to his dominance that has been caused by Carlos Alcaraz.

That is the view of former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli after the Serbian missed out on a fifth consecutive title, which would have been a record-equalling eighth overall, at the All England Club on Sunday.

Roared on by the Centre Court crowd, Alcaraz produced a dynamic performance in the final to earn a spirited five-set victory, storming back to win having lost the first set 6-1.

Despite only just turning 20, the Spaniard now has two grand slam titles to his name, having won the US Open last year.

And it is in New York where Djokovic will look to respond to only his second loss in nine Wimbledon finals.

Despite Djokovic's setback, Bartoli is confident 23-time grand slam winner is primed to win multiple further majors and one day reach 25, saying the veteran remains the man to beat.

"As the champion it is never nice to lose for sure and it will sting for a few days," Bartoli said to Stats Perform.

"I don't think he's going to come out of this match like 'yeah, it's fine I just lost it', as you don't win 23 grand slams without being a fierce competitor and without hating to lose.

"But there is the US Open coming up this year, so there is a lot on the line for him.

"He has absolutely no points to defend [in the US Open] and then he has the year-end championship [ATP Finals] that he won at the end of last year. 

"On the other end Alcaraz has the US Open to defend so it's more than likely that Novak Djokovic will be able to regain that number one ranking spot at the end of the US summer swing.

"He's going to get himself ready for that. I'm not sure what kind of schedule he will play, whether he's going to play the two Masters events before or maybe just one and go to the US Open because he's 36 and you just can't have the same schedule as someone like Carlos Alcaraz has, that is obvious.

"But can he pass and go over Margaret Court [on 24 major titles]? Absolutely. He's going to be the favourite to win the US Open equally with Alcaraz and he will be the overall favourite to win the next Australian Open.

"So absolutely it is very much more than achievable for him [to pass Court] and obviously I think by the end of 2024 that's where he should stand — at least 25 Grand Slams and alone on top of the world."

Djokovic had not lost at Wimbledon since going down to Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals and the final was his first loss on Centre Court for 10 years, since Andy Murray beat him in the famous 2013 final, the same year when Bartoli won on the women's side.

Bartoli added: "So for sure it's just going to sting for him when he looks back at those tapes and sees back those points that he missed – two backhands during the tie-break, the drop shot that he missed in the net at 3-2 for him in the breaker, sees the swing volley that he decided to actually take in the air – maybe just let it drop and see if the ball actually will stay in the court or not.

"It is just two or three crucial points here and there that made the whole result at the end of the match change. He had set point to go up two sets to love. I think if he covered there, it is completely different. 

"He had a break point at the beginning of the fifth to go 2-0 up after winning the fourth and was carrying the whole momentum with him, so he was extremely close."

Bartoli thinks the rise of Alcaraz epitomises the new style of modern players, but thinks Djokovic's complete game means he is still well-placed to mix it with rising stars.

Alcaraz is the youngest player in the Open Era to win the singles title at both the US Open and Wimbledon.

But asked if the win for Alcaraz was a changing of the guard, she replied: "No, but I felt it was a new tennis. 

"It was very much a sort of new complete tennis that we'll be able to witness from the new generation of players coming in. I include in that Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner as the same [style] as Alcaraz. 

"The defence is there, the court coverage is there, the speed is there, coming to the net is there, playing the dropshot is there, play aggressive and defensive, and they can last for whatever time is required on the court. And in some sort of way in the middle, there is Daniil Medvedev and Stefan Tsitsipas too.

"That's what the new tennis on the men's side is looking for. Maybe for the next 10 years or so. And I think very much Novak was up to the task [against Alcaraz].

"So I don't think it was a change of the guard. I just felt it was a new tennis and because Novak has that type of tennis obviously he can sustain that level." 

The epic Wimbledon final between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic is among the best three tennis matches Marion Bartoli has ever seen.

Former Wimbledon champion Bartoli watched in awe as Alcaraz dethroned Djokovic at the All England Club on Sunday, coming from behind to win a classic contest 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4.

Bartoli played in two Wimbledon finals herself and was commentating on the latest instalment of great showpiece battles on Centre Court as Djokovic was denied a record-equalling eighth title at the grand slam tournament.

"I definitely ranked it in the top three matches that I've ever seen," Bartoli told Stats Perform.

"Of course there are some finals I haven't seen especially from before [this era], but I think when you look at it as Roger [Federer] against Rafa [Nadal] at Wimbledon 2008, and then Rafa against Novak at Australian Open 2012 and then this one, you will very much have the top three matches ever played. That's my personal opinion. 

"Maybe some people will add two or three other matches, but it is 100 per cent in the top five without a doubt, and I think I could even put it top three." 

Djokovic was frustrated as the Centre Court crowd rooted for his younger opponent for much of a back-and-forth encounter.

But Bartoli thinks the 20-year-old Spaniard would command support against any player.

She stressed that Wimbledon great Djokovic still gets plenty of backing, and much of the crowd reaction in favour of Alcaraz would have been based on not wanting the match to end quickly as the sport's latest blockbuster rivalry begins.

Alcaraz became the first player not called Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or Andy Murray to triumph at Wimbledon since 2002 – before he was even born – and the British crowd were relishing his success.

"It seemed like there was such an affection for Carlos Alcaraz," Bartoli said.

"In terms of Carlos, I don't know if it's because he's won so many matches and he doesn't lose or maybe the crowd is naturally against Novak, but for me I think it's more of an admiration for Carlos.

"From what I'm seeing from the crowd it is more like when you have this new genius that comes around, everyone wants to be part of the journey. I very much feel that with him. 

"And it's around the world – the welcoming that he had at the US Open last year, look at the shouting from the crowd again in that incredible match against Jannik Sinner when he was really on the ropes and Sinner was leading all the way and just couldn't finish it out at the end. 

"I think it's more when you're recognising that there is someone that good, it's almost impossible not to be for him, unless he's playing a local player. 

"That will be interesting to see if he plays the Brits next year. What sort of Centre Court is it going to be then? But if it's against anyone else then for sure they are going to be on his side.

"But even then I feel Novak has been really getting some great support as well and I think very much the crowd wanted to have a five-set match or a long run. 

"They didn't want it [to end quickly] when Carlos lost the first set easily and when Carlos won the second set then they didn't want Carlos to run away with the match either. 

"They really wanted both players to go out for battle all out for four hours and 45 minutes just like they did, so I don't think it's going to be one-sided always for Carlos Alcaraz. 

"But everyone very much feels like he is really the new genius and everyone wants to see him." 

The loss for Djokovic was the first time he had been beaten in a five-set grand slam final since losing to Murray in the 2012 US Open.

Despite that, Djokovic overtook Chris Evert (34) as the player with the most appearances in major finals, among both men and women (35).

Wimbledon is over for another year.

The British grand slam brought with it plenty of twists and turns, not least in the men's singles final on Sunday, as Carlos Alcaraz overcame Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller.

A day before Alcaraz sealed his second major title with that 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 success, Marketa Vondrousova won her first grand slam with a surprise 6-4 6-4 victory over Ons Jabeur.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks back at the best statistics from the last two weeks at the All England Club.

King Carlos

It looked like it might be a bad day at the office for Alcaraz when Djokovic cruised to a 6-1 win in the first set on Centre Court, but the Spaniard came back with a bang.

Alcaraz is an incredible talent that looks set to take up the mantle left by Rafael Nadal, and while Djokovic was at times at his dominant best, it still wasn't enough to down the world number one.

At 20, Alcaraz is the third-youngest player in the Open Era to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon, after Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg.

And he is now the youngest player in the Open Era to win the singles title at both the US Open and Wimbledon.

Nadal was the only previous Spaniard to win the coveted trophy, as Alcaraz became the first player not called Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray to triumph at the All England Club since 2002 - before he was even born.

He became the first player to defeat three top-10 opponents en route to winning the Wimbledon title since Pete Sampras did so in 1994, while after claiming the title at Queen's, Alcaraz is the second-youngest player to win 12+ consecutive grass-court matches (Boris Becker was the youngest to achieve the feat, with 13 straight wins in 1985 between the Queen's Club and Wimbledon).

No Grand Slam for Novak

Djokovic became the second player in the Open Era to reach multiple men's singles grand slam finals in a single year after turning 36, after Ken Rosewall in 1974. He also overtook Chris Evert (34) as the player with the most appearances in major finals, among both men and women (35).

Only Federer, with 46, can match the Serbian's tally of grand slam semi-final appearances in the Open Era, meanwhile.

The 36-year-old also became just the third player in the Open Era, after Federer and Jimmy Connors, to play in 100 men's singles matches at Wimbledon.

Djokovic had not lost a five-set grand slam final since losing to Andy Murray in the 2012 US Open.

Indeed, Djokovic had not lost at Wimbledon since going down to Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals and the final was his first loss on Centre Court for 10 years, since Murray beat him in the famous 2013 final.

Vondrousova victorious

Vondrousova is the first unseeded player to win the women's singles title at Wimbledon in the Open Era. It marked only her second career WTA Tour title, following her success at Biel in 2017.

She is the lowest-ranked player to win the singles title in Wimbledon since the WTA Rankings were introduced.

The Czech was playing in her second grand slam final, having previously lost to Ashleigh Barty at the 2019 French Open.

Vondrousova now holds a record of 3-2 head-to-head against Jabeur, with the latter winning their only previous meeting on grass, at Eastbourne in 2021. All the Tunisian's losses Vondrousova have come in 2023.

Vondrousova is the sixth unseeded player to win a grand slam title in the last decade, after Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Iga Swiatek, Barbora Krejcikova and Emma Raducanu.

The 24-year-old is the third Czech woman to win the singles title at Wimbledon, after Jana Novotna (1998) and Petra Kvitova (2011, 2014).

Meanwhile, Jabeur became the first player since Simona Halep to lose each of her first three singles finals at grand slams, while the 28-year-old is the third player in the 21st century to lose successive Wimbledon finals after Venus Williams (2002, 2003) and Serena Williams (2018, 2019).

Carlos Alcaraz won his second grand slam before turning 21 with Sunday’s Wimbledon triumph.

Alcaraz is outstripping the achievements of runner-up Novak Djokovic and the rest of the modern ‘big three’ at the same age and here, the PA news agency looks at the statistics behind the Spaniard’s rapid rise to prominence.

Double delight

After winning last year’s US Open to become the youngest ever men’s world number one, and the first teenager to top the rankings, Alcaraz defeated Djokovic in five hard-fought sets at SW19 to double his grand slam tally.

The win means he has matched compatriot Rafael Nadal’s two majors before turning 21, while Djokovic won only the 2008 Australian Open and Roger Federer had not opened his account by that age.

Alcaraz will have two more chances before his 21st birthday, his US Open defence starting next month and then January’s Australian Open. Winning both would see him equal Mats Wilander’s Open era record of four slams before turning 21, while one success would match Bjorn Borg for second place on that list.

He has also spent 29 weeks at number one in the rankings in four separate spells, including his current four-week run – something neither Djokovic, Federer nor Nadal achieved before turning 21.

Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin are the only other under-21s to top the men’s rankings – Safin for just two weeks in 2000. Hewitt spent 61 weeks at number one before turning 21, with Alcaraz able to overhaul that record if he can retain his status for 32 of the 41 weeks before his next birthday.

Should he hold top spot at the end of the season and through the off-season, that will account for six weeks. However, he would almost certainly need to win the US Open where he is defending last year’s points and Djokovic, who missed out last year due to being unvaccinated against Covid-19, will be gaining points all the way.

Lost generation

Outside of the US Open, Alcaraz is remarkably the first man born after Djokovic to win any of the other three grand slams.

Since Safin’s 2005 Australian Open title, that competition has been won 10 times by Djokovic – born in May 1987 – with five wins for Federer, born in 1981, two for Nadal (1986) and one for Stan Wawrinka (1985).

Nadal has dominated the French Open with 14 wins, with three for Djokovic and one each for Federer and Wawrinka, while the Wimbledon titles had until Sunday been shared by Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray – a week older than Djokovic.

Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic, both born in 1988, Dominic Thiem (1993) and Daniil Medvedev (1996) have all won the US Open in addition to Alcaraz himself, the last three in successive years.

Alcaraz’s two majors and 29 weeks at number one compare to the four US Open titles and 16 weeks with Medvedev at number one for all male players born between himself and Djokovic. By contrast on the women’s side, players born in this period have won 33 grand slams and spent 458 weeks at world number one.

The narrative surrounding men’s tennis changed in the split second it took for Novak Djokovic’s final forehand to hit the Centre Court net and fall to the grass.

A season that looked set to see the Serbian smash the records he has not yet claimed – a first calendar Grand Slam, an unprecedented 25th major singles title – instead has been turned on its head thanks to the brilliance of 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz.

By handing Djokovic his first Wimbledon defeat since 2017, Alcaraz has answered the one question that had been lingering – could he match and surpass the great Serbian on the biggest stage of all?

 

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In nearly five hours of spell-binding sporting theatre, the momentum fluctuated several times but in the end it was Alcaraz who seized his chance in a final game that demonstrated everything that makes the Spaniard such a special talent.

Wimbledon had seemed the least likely venue for him to topple Djokovic, such was the 36-year-old’s dominance and his young rival’s inexperience on grass, and, with his position as world number one strengthened, the era of Alcaraz may well be upon us.

“After this epic match, I think different about Novak in the way that probably in other tournaments, in other grand slams, I will remember this moment,” he said.

“I will think that, well, I’m ready to play five sets against him, good rallies, good sets, really long, long match and stay there physically, mentally, in tennis, in general. Probably it changes my mind a little bit after this match.”

Next month it will be Alcaraz who heads to New York as the defending US Open champion, while Djokovic has triumphed at Flushing Meadows just once in the last eight years.

There was no doubt this was a painful and unexpected loss for the Serbian, but also one that is likely to add fuel to the fire that burns so fiercely within him.

Asked if this could be the start of another great rivalry, Djokovic said with a smile: “I would hope so, for my sake. He’s going to be on the tour for quite some time. I don’t know how long I’ll be around.

“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.

“I hope we get to play in US Open. I think it’s good for the sport,  one and two in the world facing each other in almost a five-hours, five-set thriller. Couldn’t be better for our sport in general.”

The bumper TV audience and the stars from well beyond sport packed into Centre Court were testament to that fact and, health permitting, there appears no limit to what Alcaraz could go on to achieve.

One of the most staggering things about the 20-year-old is how quickly he learns under the guidance of former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero.

He had played just two tournaments on grass before arriving at Queen’s Club last month and almost lost his first match there to lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech.

He did not drop another set in taking the title and, only a few weeks after nerves caused him to cramp in the third set of his French Open semi-final against Djokovic, he proved superior over four hours and 42 minutes.

“I must say he surprised me,” said the Serbian. “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 in Queen’s. Then he started to gain momentum, more and more wins against really good players.

“I must say the slices, the 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.”

Both men will now take a well-earned break before reconvening on the north American hard courts in August when Alcaraz, not Djokovic, will be the man to beat.

The Russians returned, a Ukrainian charmed Centre Court, an American punched above his weight, there were protests, curfews, boos and even a spying controversy. But most unusually of all, Novak Djokovic did not win.

He came close, though. Wimbledon 2023 looked set to go the same way as the previous four in the men’s draw, Djokovic bidding to take his number of titles to eight – level with Roger Federer – and his total of grand slam wins to 24 to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.

But along came Carlos Alcaraz, the swashbuckling 20-year-old bundle of Spanish energy, a smiling assassin, and suddenly the irresistible force had beaten the immovable object.

Djokovic was supposed to stroll to the title, a testament to his enduring greatness, but also a damning indictment of the rest of the field if a 36-year-old can knock them all over with ease.

But Alcaraz struck a blow for the young pretenders with a five-set victory over four-and-three-quarter dramatic hours, in what was only his 18th match on grass.

Alcaraz had earlier in the week shrugged off ‘spygate’ claims that his father had been seen filming Djokovic practising with all his wide-eyed, boyish charm, simply saying: “Oh, probably it is true. My father is a huge fan of tennis.”

The breakout star of the Championships was American Chris Eubanks, who landed some heavyweight shots on his run to the quarter-finals, knocking out British number one Cameron Norrie and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas along the way.

Wild card Liam Broady flew the British flag the furthest in the men’s draw, accounting for fourth seed – and renowned grass-phobe – Casper Ruud before falling to Dennis Shapovalov in round three.

The women’s champion was not so easy to pick, as has been the case for the last few years, and although a ‘big three’ has started to emerge, both world number one Iga Swiatek and defending champion Elena Rybakina exited at the quarter-final stage, and second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semis.

Unseeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina became the darling of Centre Court, reaching the semi-finals just nine months after her daughter Skai was born.

Svitolina’s stance in not shaking hands with players from Russia or Belarus, who were banned last year due to the conflict in her homeland, led to fourth-round opponent Victoria Azarenka being booed off Centre Court, with spectators assuming it was her who had snubbed the handshake.

The Wimbledon crowd evidently know more about Pimm’s and strawberries than they do about the world political landscape.

Sabalenka’s loss to Ons Jabeur – and Daniil Medvedev’s defeat by Alcaraz in the men’s semi – did at least spare the All England Club from the awkward optic of the Princess of Wales handing over the trophy to a Belarusian or Russian player.

Svitolina beat Swiatek in the last eight but her run was ended by Czech Marketa Vondrousova, the world number 42, who went on to become the first unseeded woman to win the title after a straight-sets demolition of Jabeur.

British number one Katie Boulter, unfazed by Just Stop Oil’s bizarre orange confetti/jigsaw puzzle interruption – the second such protest on day three – made the third round but was brutally taken down by Rybakina, 6-1 6-1.

The rain, frustratingly a feature throughout the fortnight, meant only an hour’s play was possible on the outside courts on day two, causing a backlog of matches and a headache for the schedulers.

That did not affect the show courts, but Wimbledon’s stubborn insistence that play should not start before 1.30pm on Centre meant too many late finishes and, on two occasions, matches being unable to finish due to the strict 11pm curfew.

Djokovic disposed of Stan Wawrinka with 14 minutes to spare, but not even he could beat Hubert Hurkacz inside their allotted two hours after two lengthy matches beforehand, and the Serbian had to come back in on his day off to finish the job.

The same happened to Andy Murray, the latest leg of his extended farewell tour ending in the second round when he was outlasted over five sets and two days by Tsitsipas.

Djokovic suggested play should start at 12pm, but that is another contest at Wimbledon that he probably will not win.

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