After years of false starts, men’s tennis has finally started a decent war between generations.
Carlos Alcaraz, the 20-year-old Spanish star who shocked the sporting world in a short career in a stunning comeback that rocked the historic center court of the All England Club, defeated Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. I’ve done the near impossible. The man, widely regarded as the greatest player in the history of the sport, has long treated that lawn as his backyard.
Coming off a set and just struggling to avoid embarrassment, Alcaraz rediscovered his unique combination of speed, power and touch, and in the nick of time grasped the subtleties of grass court tennis.
He came back into the match by one point from a two-set deficit that seemed irretrievable in the epic 90-minute second set.
He took control of the match midway through the third set, earning a decisive second break from Djokovic’s often unbreakable serve in a match that included 13 deuces.
He staggered in the fourth set as Djokovic, the four-time defending Wimbledon champion and seven-time winner of tennis’ most important championship, but he’s the most dangerous player ever in the face of defeat. However, I stabilized myself and rediscovered the magical footwork that I had cultivated. It has long served as the cornerstone of his success.
But then Alcaraz got back up again and won 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, not only overcoming Djokovic’s seemingly endless skill and talent , also shattered his spirit.
Finally, when the momentum faltered again, when Alcaraz broke Djokovic’s serve with a backhand down the line early in the fifth set, the most steel-minded Serb put his racket into the net. slammed into the post. A few points earlier, he had missed an opportunity to gain control by swinging a floating forehand in the middle of the court, sending it into the net. Now, just a few minutes later, something that has rarely happened to him in years is to lose to a relatively newcomer on the big stage, especially on this big stage, and with the history of tennis in his hands. something happened.
For Djokovic, a 23-time Grand Slam men’s singles champion who finally defeated longtime rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer last month, the loss cost him a chance at one of the few prize money he has yet to achieve. To complete a Grand Slam by winning all four Grand Slam tournaments in the year that made him the first male player since 1969. He was one game away from achieving that feat of his two years ago. This time, at 36, the age when most champions retire to the broadcast booth, he was eight games away, but it seemed much closer than anyone else.
In the final game, Alcaraz proved why everyone has been raving about Djokovic for so long, taking him down with all of Djokovic’s arsenal of silky drop shots, artful topspin lobs, and hard-hitting serves. rice field. Djokovic reached for the final ripping forehand, but it didn’t go over the net.
Alcaraz fell to the ground, rolled in the grass, and held his hands to his face in disbelief.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” he said shortly after receiving the championship trophy from Kate Middleton. A-list celebrities including actors Brad Pitt, Daniel Craig, Emma Watson, Hugh Jackman and singer Ariana Grande gathered for the day, while King Felipe VI of Spain watched the young Spanish athlete’s victory. .
“I hope you will come to my fights more now that I have won,” Alcaraz told the king.
Nadal, the Spanish great, the man who usurped another Wimbledon icon, Federer, from the throne in 2008, and one of Alcaraz’s many coaches, said that Alcaraz was a “spanish tennis player”. It has brought me immeasurable joy,” he wrote on social media.
“Give me a very strong hug and enjoy this moment, champ!!!” wrote Nadal, who missed the tournament after recently undergoing hip and abdominal surgery.
The loss forced Djokovic into a rare moment, but at least he admitted he lost to a better player than he did today.
He went into the match knowing how strong Alcaraz was on clay and hard courts, but thought Alcaraz still had an edge on grass, as it was only his fourth tournament on land and his 13th at Wimbledon. Djokovic is in his ninth final for the All England Club. Alcaraz had only played a few games on Center Court.
“It’s hard to swallow,” Djokovic said of the loss, holding back tears as he watched his son smile from courtside. “Thank you for supporting me,” he told his family. “I give you a big hug and we can all love each other.”
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