The last time Novak Djokovic lost a Wimbledon final, before the epic battle with Carlos Alcaraz last night, was in 2013 against Andy Murray. And it took a special performance from a special player. “I haven't played a player like him ever, to be honest,” said the great Serb about the 20-year-old Spaniard after the match.
Alcaraz was equally magnanimous, after beating the seven-time champion to clinch the gentlemen's singles title. “Beating Novak, winning Wimbledon, is something that I dreamed about since I started playing tennis," he told BBC after denying Djokovic a 24th Grand Slam win. "It's the happiest moment of my life. I think it's not going to change for a long time."
Fondly known as Carlitos, Alcaraz trains every day for two hours at the Juan Carlos Ferrero Equelite Tennis Academy, which also produced another tennis great, Rafael Nadal.
“Carlos is physically explosive and very fast. I can’t make him play slowly, but I hope he’s capable of construction,” said Juan Carlos Ferrero, his coach, in an interview with Vogue. “He’s naturally creative. That’s a plus.”
Alcaraz grew up in the village of El Palmar admiring Roger Federer. He and his brother Alvaro took to tennis from a young age, thanks to a father who played professional tennis and an uncle who built a tennis club in the village. At 12, he got into a tournament in Croatia and started training with Ferrero three years later.
He likes chess and collects Nike sneakers. He has confessed that he covets vintage models.
Djokovic admitted without hesitation that he was only the second-best player last night. “Alcaraz was a deserved winner today, no doubt,” he said. “I had my chances. I think I could have closed out that second-set tiebreaker better. But credit to him for fighting and showing some incredible defensive skills, passing shots that got him the break in the fifth.”
He broke into tears on the court and reportedly admitted that he shouldn't have won against Roger Federer in the 2019 final.
In January, Boris Becker said that he thought age was catching up with Djokovic as he was seen 'catching his breath' more than usual at the Australian Open.