Novak Djokovic compares Carlos Alcaraz to a combination of ‘the big three’
Novak Djokovic has compared Carlos Alcaraz to a combination of himself and his great rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, following their thrilling five-set final at Wimbledon.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion spoke of his ‘surprise’ at how well the Spaniard is playing on grass at this early stage in his career, “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.”
Despite his defeat, Djokovic revealed that he hoped for a rivalry with the 20-year-old, “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.
Djokovic added, “I hope we get to play in the US Open. Why not? 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, so why not.”
Due to his nationality Alcaraz is often compared to his compatriot Nadal, who is currently on the sidelines following surgery on a psoas injury that he picked up at the Australian Open earlier this year.
However, Djokovic believes that the No.1 is more of a mixture of Nadal, Federer and himself, “I think people have been talking in the past 12 months or so about his game consisting of certain elements from Roger, Rafa, and myself. I would agree with that. I think he’s got basically the best of all three worlds.”
He continued, “He’s got this mental resilience and really maturity for someone who is 20 years old. It’s quite impressive. He’s got this Spanish bull mentality of competitiveness and fighting spirit and incredible defence that we’ve seen with Rafa over the years.
“And I think he’s got some nice sliding backhands that he’s got some similarities with my backhands. Yeah, two-handed backhands, defence, being able to adapt. I think that has been my personal strength for many years. He has it, too.”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 16, 2023
Djokovic even went onto say that he had never played anyone like Alcaraz, suggesting that he is a more ‘complete player’ than Federer and Nadal.
“I haven’t played a player like him ever, to be honest,” claimed Djokovic. “Roger and Rafa have their own obvious strengths and weaknesses. Carlos is a very complete player. Amazing adapting capabilities that I think are a key for longevity and for a successful career on all surfaces.”
Novak Djokovic vs Carlos Alcaraz head-to-head
After that incredible final, fans want to see more and more of the budding rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, so we at Tennishead have looked back on their three meetings to date:
Djokovic vs Alcaraz: 1-2
- Alcaraz beat Djokovic, 6(5)-7 7-5 7-6(5) (Madrid 2022)
- Djokovic beat Alcaraz, 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 (Roland Garros 2023)
- Alcaraz beat Djokovic, 1-6 7-6(6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 (Wimbledon 2023)
Read >> World’s best tennis magazine