Match Reaction

Candid Carlos: 'I Couldn't Find Solutions'

Spaniard will surrender World No. 1 mantle to Djokovic on Monday
September 09, 2023
Carlos Alcaraz finishes his 2023 Grand Slam season with the Wimbledon title and semi-final showings at Roland Garros and the US Open.
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Carlos Alcaraz finishes his 2023 Grand Slam season with the Wimbledon title and semi-final showings at Roland Garros and the US Open. By ATP Staff

Carlos Alcaraz has been described by many tennis experts as the most complete player they have ever seen for a 20-year-old.

But after failing to stop a red-hot Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals Friday night, the Spaniard says there is still work to do.

“He played a really, really great game. I couldn't find solutions,” Alcaraz said. “I thought that right now I am a better player [who can] find solutions when the match is not going in the right direction for you. But after this match, I’m going to change my mind. I'm not mature enough to handle these kind of matches. So I have to learn from that.”

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Brutal honesty, indeed. Alcaraz seemed to have the right game plan early in the match, winning his first 18 net approaches as he looked to exploit Medvedev’s deep-court position, especially on the return of serve. But his net game deserted him in the first-set tie-break and then in the second he couldn’t find the answers to halt Medvedev’s charge.

Alcaraz hit 45 winners to Medvedev’s 38, but the 2021 US Open champion largely won the day in baseline exchanges. Alcaraz came to net 70 times – exactly double his net approaches against Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals – but even winning 77 per cent of those points was not enough.

Medvedev certainly took the honours on serve, firing nine aces to none and winning 82 per cent of first-serve points to Alcaraz’s 69 per cent.

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“He played with more speed in his shots. I think the running forehand was great today,” Alcaraz said. “Probably with the slice in the previous matches helped me a lot to find my own game, but today I couldn't.

“He found great directions with his shots, no mistakes, great serve today. 10 out of 10, as he said… He’s one of the best returners on the Tour. That obviously is amazing how he can return from the back of the court really deep and really powerful. When I do serve and volley, he always finds the passing shot from from his house (laughter).”

On Monday Alcaraz will surrender No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to Novak Djokovic, who will begin his 390th week in top spot. However, the Spaniard will retain a razor-thin lead over the Serbian in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin if the 36-year-old falls to Medvedev in Sunday’s title match.

The Race determines which eight players qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, but it also serves as an indicator of which player will finish the year World No. 1.

Alcaraz finishes his Grand Slam season having won his maiden Wimbledon title and having reached semi-finals at Roland Garros and the US Open. He missed the Australian Open through injury.

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