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Amazing Alcaraz denies Djokovic for maiden Wimbledon crown

World No.1 becomes just third Spanish man to win the Championships

©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

I would hope so, for my sake. Heís going to be on the tour for quite some time.

Carlos Alcaraz is learning from the very best and already knows he canít show up to the All England Club without his membership card like Roger Federer did once and was denied entry.

Now that he has won Wimbledon and has become an honorary member of the AELTC, that card will get prime real estate in his wallet moving forward.

On Sunday, Alcaraz handed Novak Djokovic his first defeat at Wimbledon since 2017, and first on Centre Court in 10 years as he became just the third Spanish man in history to win the singles title at the All England Club.

The world No.1 denied Djokovic the chance to clinch a fifth consecutive Wimbledon crown and a record-equalling eighth overall, as he avenged his recent Roland-Garros semi-final defeat to the Serb with a 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory in four hours and 42 minutes.

The loss means Djokovic also missed out on tying Margaret Courtís all-time record of 24 Grand Slams won.

Alcaraz is just the fourth active man to win Wimbledon, alongside Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, and the 20-year-old is now a two-time major champion, having triumphed at the US Open last season.

He has equalled the Open Era record for fewest attempts before winning a second menís singles Grand Slam title and is third-youngest man to win Wimbledon in the Open Era.

The Murcia native ensured he will remain at the top of the rankings after Wimbledon and extended his current winning streak to 12 matches, all amassed on grass, having lifted the trophy at Queenís prior to these Championships. †

ďItís a dream come true for me,Ē said Alcaraz during the trophy ceremony. ďOf course itís great to win but even if I had lost, I would be really proud of myself with this amazing run, making history in this beautiful tournament, playing a final against a legend of our sport.

ďItís amazing for a boy, 20 years old, I didnít expect to reach these kind of situations really fast. Iím really, really proud of myself and really proud of the team that I have, the work that we put in every day to be able to lift this trophy.Ē

Alcaraz had played just three tour-level tournaments on grass prior to this fortnight and he has won two of them.

Djokovic admitted he was surprised by how quickly the young Spaniard has gotten acquainted with the surface.

ďI must say he surprised me. He surprised everyone how quickly he adapted to grass this year. He hasnít had too many wins on grass in the last two years that he played. Obviously him coming from clay, having the kind of style that he has,Ē said Djokovic.

ďI must say the slices, the kind of chipping returns, the net play, itís very impressive. I didnít expect him to play so well this year on grass, but heís proven that heís the best player in the world, no doubt.

ďHeís playing some fantastic tennis on different surfaces and he deserves to be where he is.Ē

A marquee audience that included the Prince and Princess of Wales, King Felipe of Spain, Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Andrew Garfield, Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Daniel Craig, Ariana Grande, and Andy Murray all gathered to watch this highly-anticipated showdown between the world No.1 and world No.2.

The wind was swirling on Centre Court and it was Djokovic who adapted better to the conditions, racing to a 5-0 lead in under half an hour. It took Alcaraz 32 minutes to finally get on the board, holding for 1-5 but it only delayed the inevitable as Djokovic comfortably took a one-set lead.

Alcaraz had a much better start in the second, and he claimed his break of the match on the 48-minute mark to inch ahead 2-0.

Djokovic struck back and saved a break point in game four with a ridiculous 29-shot rally as he levelled for 2-all.

The pair were neck and neck throughout the set, which fittingly went to a tiebreak. Djokovic carved a 3-0 opening in the breaker but Alcaraz stormed back and saved a set point at 5-6.

Djokovic suddenly found himself facing set point at 6-7. The Serb serve-and-volleyed but it proved a costly decision as Alcaraz slammed down a return winner to secure the 85-minute second set and even things up in the final.

With the wind in his sails, Alcaraz leapt to a 2-0 advantage in the third set as Djokovic began to show signs of fatigue.

A marathon game five saw Alcaraz move up a double-break 4-1 after surviving 13 deuces and converting his seventh break point opportunity.

It was a crushing blow for Djokovic who didnít win another game as Alcaraz moved up two-sets-to-one on the three-hour mark.

Djokovic fended off a pair of break points to hold for 1-1 in the fourth and with it came some momentum for the No.2 seed, who soon carved a 4-2 opening in his favour.

It was all the 36-year-old needed to take the final into a decider as the contest approached the four-hour mark.

Alcaraz sent the crowd to their feet when he unleashed a down-the-line backhand winner to break for 2-1 in the deciding set. A frustrated Djokovic smashed his racquet against the wooden net post in frustration and received a code violation as a result.

That one break was all Alcaraz needed and he wrapped up a historic victory on netted shot from Djokovic.

ďItís great to be a member here, such an iconic club itís very, very special for me, I have to bring the card. I know that Roger Federer faced trouble getting in without the card. So I will make sure to bring mine with me,Ē joked Alcaraz, who paid tribute to Djokovic and his incredible longevity.

ďCongratulations to Novak, what can I say about him. Itís unbelievable. You inspire me a lot. I started playing tennis watching you; since I was born you were already winning tournaments, itís amazing. Probably you are in better shape than me. You said that Ď36 is the new 26í and you make that happen in real life, itís amazing.Ē

Stat of the day

Alcaraz ran 718m in the fifth game of the third set that witnessed seven break points and 13 deuces. It resulted in the Spaniard going up a double-break 4-1 against Djokovic.

Quotes of the day

Asked if he felt like this is the beginning of a big rivalry between him and Alcaraz, Djokovic said with a grin:

ďI would hope so, for my sake. Heís going to be on the tour for quite some time. I donít know how long Iíll be around. Yeah, I mean, letís see. Itís been only three matches that we played against each other. Three really close matches. Two already this year in later stages of Grand Slams.

ďI hope we get to play in US Open. Why not? I think itís good for the sport, 1 and 2 in the world facing each other in almost a five-hours, five-set thriller. Couldnít be better for our sport in general, so why not?Ē

On Alcarazís greatest strength, the Serb said:

ďI think people have been talking in the past 12 months or so about his game consisting of certain elements from Roger, Rafa, and myself. I would agree with that. I think heís got basically best of all three worlds.Ē

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