Carlos Alcaraz Novak Djokovic 2022

Carlos Alcaraz needs Novak Djokovic to develop, admits coach

Juan Carlos Ferrero hopes Novak Djokovic can play more tournaments next year, saying Carlos Alcaraz ‘needs’ the Serbian.

Alcaraz has had a stunning breakthrough year, winning the US Open and becoming the youngest world number one in ATP history.

That has been achieved against a backdrop of Novak Djokovic being forced into playing a reduced schedule due to covid restrictions, though, and many believe that puts an asterisk next to Alcaraz’s achievements.

Ferrero, a former world number one himself who coaches  Carlos Alcaraz, does not necessarily agree with that, but he acknowledges the 19-year-old will become a better player for having to play against the best.

“We need him,” said Ferrero told Eurosport as he discussed Djokovic returning to the Australian Open next year.

“I think for Carlos to improve his tennis he needs to play against one of the best in the history. Of course Rafa [Nadal] is there to play against him and Novak, we need him.

“In Madrid Carlos played against Novak and he increased his level to try to win the match, so that’s what we need, to play in the Slams against him, I think it’s very important for Carlos to improve.”

Djokovic had a brilliant last quarter of the year, winning Tel-Aviv, Astana and Turin. It was at the latter where he really impressed, though, albeit in Alcaraz’s absence.

“I think after the US Open, which he couldn’t play, he was very focused to show himself that he is able to win almost everything that he played, we saw again that he’s able to do it,” said Ferrero of Djokovic.

“He presented himself to all the players that he’s going to be there and that he has the possibility to play in Australia, I think he’s very happy about it and I think the rest of the players as well.

“Carlos and I were talking about that we’re happy to see Novak there because if you want to win the Australian Open you have to win against the best, and of course it’s good news. But of course it didn’t surprise me at all that he won in Turin.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.