For the second time in more than five weeks, Carlos Alcaraz will be up against Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam match. In their first meeting, Alcaraz had stunned the 23-time Grand Slam winner in 2022 Madrid Open, just 24 hours after he beat Rafael Nadal. However, in the second meeting the Spaniard was left heartbroken in the French Open quarterfinals last month as he suffered from cramps after bouncing back to take the second set. Alcaraz eventually went down in four sets. He will now have a shot at redemption when he faces seven-time Wimbledon winner Djokovic on Centre Court in Sunday’s final. And ahead of the mouth-watering clash, Alcaraz revealed his plan to avoid a repeat of French Open.
Djokovic and Alcaraz have barely been in the same draw since their 2019 meeting despite being arguably the two best players on the tour presently. They were on collision course in a French Open tune-up event, but both suffered an early exit before the Roland Garros arranged their encounter.
Alcaraz bounced back in stunning fashion in the set, winning it 7-5 after losing the first set 6-3 against Djokovic. But after the tight start to the match, Alcaraz started cramping. He later received a medical assistance during the third set for which he had to forfeit a game, before losing 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1.
Having learned his lesson in Paris, Alcaraz revealed that he would focus more on mental preparation for the match against Djokovic to avoid cramps. “I try to get into the court with not as much nerves as I probably had in French Open, in the semi-final,” Alcaraz said. “I try to pull out all nerves, try to enjoy that moment ’cause probably in the semifinal at the French Open I didn’t enjoy at all in the first set probably. I’ll do something different from the match. I prepare the match a little bit different from French Open. It’s going to be different for me. I hope not to get cramp during the final. I think I’ll be better on Sunday.”
“Well, physically I’ll do it the same, what I was doing before the matches. Probably in the mental part I will do something different, to stay calm, to show that I’m not nervous. Some exercise in the mental part. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’ll do some exercise to stay calm and to forget – or I’ll try to forget that I’m going to play a final against Novak,” he added.
Djokovic relishing another Alcaraz face-off
While Alcaraz has reiterated many a times during his 2023 Wimbledon campaign that he dreams to be in the final and face the Serb, Djokovic has responded on the blockbuster final, admitting that it was the best possible summit clash.
“This is probably the most anticipated finals I guess from the beginning of the tournament, from most of the people. Alcaraz, myself… It will be his first finals in Wimbledon,” he said.