Five Stunning Aspects To Alcaraz’s Wimbledon Win Against Djokovic

Spaniard defeated seven-time champ on Centre Court for second major crown
July 17, 2023
Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic inside the All England Club prior to their Wimbledon final clash.
Corinne Dubreuil//ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic inside the All England Club prior to their Wimbledon final clash. By ATP Staff

Carlos Alcaraz passed one of the toughest tests in tennis by downing seven-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic on Sunday to claim his maiden title at the grass-court major.

From his own relative inexperience on grass to Djokovic’s unrivalled knack of getting over the line at the majors, the context of Alcaraz’s victory only enhanced the 20-year-old Spaniard’s achievement. To reflect further on an all-time classic, breaks down five stunning aspects to Alcaraz’s 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 final win.

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1. Green On Grass
A 34-match winning streak dating back to 2017, a 92-10 tournament record, undefeated on Centre Court in over 10 years: Djokovic’s Wimbledon stats leading into the final painted a clear picture of the challenge facing Alcaraz. The Serbian’s experience at the All England Club stood in particularly stark contrast to his opponent, who was competing for only the third time at Wimbledon and in just his fourth tournament on grass at any level.

The Spaniard’s development on the surface had been evident as he triumphed at The Queen’s Club prior to reaching the final at SW19, but ending Djokovic’s reign on Centre Court in such dramatic fashion counts as another level of achievement altogether.

2. Making It At The Majors
It wasn’t just a deficit of Wimbledon experience that Alcaraz had to overcome on Centre Court. Alcaraz was competing in just his second championship match at a Grand Slam event, after his 2022 US Open win. Djokovic, by comparison, was playing in his 35th major final, a tally which moved him clear of former WTA star Chris Evert on the all-time list.

With Alcaraz struggling to settle, the Serbian raced to a 6-1 lead to ramp up the pressure on his 20-year-old opponent. Coming into the match Djokovic held a 15-3 record in major finals after winning the first set, making the way Alcaraz roared back to claim victory even more impressive.

3. A Rapid Reversal From Roland Garros
Just five weeks prior to their Wimbledon clash, Alcaraz had become riddled with nerves-induced cramp during his Roland Garros semi-final against Djokovic. With the Spaniard later admitting the occasion had got to him in Paris, that recent history raised pre-match question marks around Alcaraz’s ability to compete against Djokovic on Centre Court.

In the final, it was the 20-year-old World No. 1 who outlasted Djokovic, one of the toughest and durable competitors the ATP Tour has seen, on the London grass. He crucially broke the Serbian in a lung-busting 27-minute game at 3-1 in the third set, and still appeared in peak physical shape as he hit 18 winners to Djokovic’s three in the deciding set.

4. Snapping Novak’s Tie-Break Tear-Up
Djokovic’s psychological hold over opponents during tie-breaks has been a key feature of his success at the majors in 2023. Entering the second set against Alcaraz, the 36-year-old had won 15 straight tie-breaks at Grand Slam events dating back to his second-round Australian Open match against Enzo Couacaud in January.

The final six of those 15 breakers came during Djokovic’s Wimbledon run, but it was Alcaraz who snapped the streak when he needed it most. On the brink of falling two sets behind at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break, the Spaniard fended off set point before reeling off three points in a row to level the match and kick-start his charge towards victory.

5. Staying Alive Over Five
Djokovic’s ability to pull out clutch deciding-set performances on the biggest stage is renowned. Prior to Sunday, the Serbian had won his past four five-set Grand Slam finals, outlasting Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2019, Dominic Thiem at the 2020 Australian Open and Stefanos Tsitsipas at Roland Garros in 2021.

Whether Alcaraz was aware of Djokovic’s crunch-time record at the majors is unclear, but the Spaniard fearlessly took it to the 23-time major champion in style in the final set. As Djokovic netted a forehand on championship point, the 20-year-old World No. 1 became the first player to beat the Serbian in a five-set major final since Andy Murray at the 2012 US Open.

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