The world No 1, Carlos Alcaraz, says beating Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon would be the best moment of his life. The Spaniard beat Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to set up a dream final with Djokovic in the final on Sunday, with the status of world’s top player also on the line.
“It is going to be the best moment of my life, probably,” Alcaraz said. “Playing a final here in Wimbledon is something that I dreamed about when I started playing tennis. It’s even better playing against Novak. It’s going to be a really emotional moment for me. But I’ll try to stay calm in that moment. For Novak it is one more day, one more moment. For me, it’s going to be the best moment of my life.”
The seven-time champion Djokovic came through a testing match with Jannik Sinner, during which he was given a call of hindrance when the umpire adjudged that he had put off the Italian by grunting at length after one backhand early in the second set. “I saw the replay,” the Serb said. “I saw that my grunt finished before he hit the shot so I thought that chair umpire’s call was not correct. But I have to accept it. Luckily I stayed calm.”
Djokovic beat Alcaraz in the semi-finals on the way to French Open glory last month, when the 20-year-old suffered badly from cramp. This time, Alcaraz said he would be working with his psychologist to ensure he does not suffer the same fate again.
“I will try to get into the court with not as much nerves as I probably had in French Open, in the semi-final,” he said. “I try to pull out all nerves, try to enjoy that moment because in the semi-final at the French Open I didn’t enjoy it at all in the first set.
“I think I’ll be better on Sunday. Probably in the mental part I will do something different [before the match], to stay calm, to show that I’m not nervous. Some exercise in the mental part. I’ll do some exercise to stay calm and to forget – or I’ll try to forget that I’m going to play a final against Novak.”
The No 2 seed said his battle with Alcaraz was the one everyone wanted to see. “This is probably the most anticipated finals, I guess, from the beginning of the tournament, from most people,” Djokovic said. “I want to take this title without a doubt. I look forward to it. It’s going to be a great challenge, greatest challenge that I could have at the moment from any angle really: physical, mental, emotional.”
And Alcaraz, who won his first slam last year at the US Open, said beating Djokovic, 36, would make a title win even better. “It gives you extra motivation,” he said. “I think it’s more special to play final against a legend from our sport. If I win, it could be amazing for me – not only win a Wimbledon title but do it against Novak would be super-special. I always say if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. Novak is one of them. Would be great if I’ll do it.”
Djokovic will equal Roger Federer with eight Wimbledon wins if he takes the title but he’s ready for a battle. “Grass is massively different from clay,” he said. “Yes, I do have more experience playing in many more grand slam or Wimbledon finals than him. Still, he’s in great shape. He’s very motivated. He’s young. He’s hungry. I’m hungry, too, so let’s have a feast.”