Carlos Alkers ended Novak Djokovic’s impressive run of success at Wimbledon, powering his way to a stunning 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory for the maiden title on grass. Grand Slam court and second in the majors.
The 20-year-old Karz rallied after a dismal first set on Sunday and saved a set point in the second to win a thrilling battle for generations of tennis against his 36-year-old opponent in four hours and 42 minutes in his first match. a point. .
He cut Djokovic’s main tiebreaker to 15 in the second set, and won the extraordinary fifth match in the third set, which lasted 26 minutes. He then grabbed a 2-1 tiebreaker in the final set to deny Djokovic a fifth consecutive All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club title.
It was a powerful conversion for the young Spaniard, who recently lost two sets to Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals, overshadowed by the occasion.
Alcaraz became the third-youngest Wimbledon champion in the open era that began in 1968, behind Boris Becker (17) and Bjorn Borg (20).
He finished as world number one ahead of Djokovic and showed he can shine on grass, having also won the Queen’s Club Amendment event last month.
Alcaraz’s previous major title came at the US Open last year.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” Alcaraz said. “It’s great to win, but even if I lost, I would be really proud of myself.
“To write history in this beautiful tournament, to play one last match against the legend of our sport. I am really proud of myself, the team I have and the work we do every day.”
“I started playing tennis watching you,” he added, referring to Djokovic. Since I was born, I have already won trophies. It’s incredible. »
Meanwhile, Djokovic missed what would have been a record five consecutive Wimbledon titles — eight there and 24 at four Grand Slams — his first loss at Wimbledon since 2013.
His loss in the final of his 35th major also ended his Grand Slam bid in the calendar year before the US Open, having won the Australian Open earlier this year.
Djokovic was gracious in defeat, saying: “It wasn’t very good for me but good for Carlos. I thought I would fight against you on clay and hard but not on grass. What a way to adapt to the surface, amazing.”
“Thank you Carlos. What quality at the end of the match. You definitely deserve it.”
“You never want to lose games like this, but when the emotions subside, I should still be grateful. It’s hard to swallow, when you’re so close, but those are the times you work every day. I didn’t win, I lost to the MVP.”
After the match, Alcaraz fan Jose told Al Jazeera that the young Spanish player was “very special.”
“He progressed quickly and went from rookie to Grand Slam champion in no time,” Jose told Al Jazeera.
In Spain, he is called the heir of Ravas [Nadal’s] throne, but he adapted to grass faster than Rava.
Serbian Ana, who supported Djokovic in the final, said he lost to a “great young player”.
“He’s better than any other young player, so I’m happy that he won.”
As for Djokovic, she said the Serb still has enough to come back and compete at Wimbledon next year.
Djokovic’s fast start
Djokovic led 5-0 in the first set before Alcaraz finally got on the scoreboard half an hour later, hitting a superb forehand, in which he had already made several unforced errors. But it was too late to save the group.
However, Alcaraz was last in the match – and took the break at 2-0 in the second set, when Djokovic hit a front cross. Djokovic leveled at 2-2 in what is now a fierce duel for every point. He survived a bad slide unscathed en route to a tie-break where he squandered a 3-0 lead, earned a time violation warning, then squandered a set point at 6-5 by hitting an easy backhand into the net.
Alcaraz took full advantage and rounded out the set with a stunning backhand that ended Djokovic’s streak of 15 matches on the big teams since losing a decisive match to Enzo Kwacode in the second round of the Australian Open.
Alcaraz continued to press for a break in the first set of the third set, saving break points to lead 3-1, then winning the epic fifth match 4-1, on his seventh break point after 13 games when Djokovic scored a forehand. . .
The rest of the group was a formality as Alcaraz went 2-1 up with another winner.
Djokovic took a longer break than Alcaraz and appeared to recover a bit, saving two break points in game two of game four and then breaking for 3-2 when Alcaraz fired a volley into the net. He never looked back and forced a fifth set when Alcaraz missed twice.
Break points came and went for each player at the start of the decider before Alcaraz swung in his favor again to make it 2-1 with a backhand shot.
Djokovic slammed his racket into the goal in disgust at receiving a warning, feeling it was the defining moment.
And indeed, Cherry did not falter and served the match in the tenth game, finishing things off with a ferocious striker, who Djokovic could only recover from in the net.
“After the first set, I thought if Carlos raised the bar, everyone would be disappointed,” Alcaraz said.
“I’m falling in love with grass now, it’s incredible, I didn’t expect to be playing at this level in such a short time. I’ve only played four tournaments on grass and won in Queens and won here. I learned very, very quickly.”