If you stopped watching the Wimbledon men’s finals on Sunday after the first set and seeing Novak Djokovic win 6-1 and assumed that Djokovic was on his way to another Grand Slam final, you missed quite a lot. Carlos Alcaraz, just 20 years old but already the top-ranked player on the ATP circuit, not only came back to defeat Djokovic, but he also cemented his status as the king of tennis for likely the next decade-plus. Alcaraz beat Djokovic in a stunning five-set match 1-6 7-6(6) 6-1 3-6 6-4.
This match featured the two best players currently playing tennis. Each has a good serve, but what separates them is their shot-making ability plus their ability to return. Alcaraz, however, is like AI software. He takes little bits of information early and digests them, remakes his strategy, and then can beat other players at their own game.
This obviously isn’t doable for most players ever against Djokovic, but Alcaraz isn’t just anyone. He is very likely on his way toward Djokovic’s Grand Slam record, barring injury. Unlike Djokovic, Alcaraz has no peer anywhere close to his own ability. Djokovic had to fight through Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. For the foreseeable future, the world of tennis belongs to Alcaraz.
Carlos Alcaraz beats Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon
On Sunday at Wimbledon, Alcaraz tried to overhit in the first set. This was something he tried to do against Djokovic at the French Open as well, but that and cramps cost Alcaraz the match.
Instead, in the second set, Alcaraz decided to keep the ball in play more and take his chances more intelligently coming to the net. Like Djokovic, he can chase nearly any ball down, but Alcaraz might be the more consistent ball striker of the two right now.
It cannot go without noting the fifth game of the third set which may have been the game that truly changed the future of tennis. The game lasted 26 minutes and 56 seconds in which Djokovic had 8 game points and Alcaraz had 7. On the 7th, Alcaraz broke Djokovic.
But after Djokovic fell behind two sets to one, he somehow broke Alcaraz twice in the fourth set to set up the fifth. After an early break by Alcaraz to make it 2-1, Djokovic finally seemed to lose his calm a bit and crushed his racket against the net post. In the following game, Alcaraz won his service game at love. Alcaraz just needed to hold serve from there on to win.
It cannot be expressed enough, however, just how many balls both players got to that many humans simply aren’t physically capable of. If either player had been playing nearly anyone else, they would have won fairly easily. This was the matchup many tennis fans wanted and Djokovic and Alcaraz did not disappoint.
So now Alcaraz has won two Grand Slams and the next major is the US Open which Alcaraz won last year. That will probably be his third major. He could have ten – easily – by 2026 and he will only be 23 years old then. Forget 23 majors, Alcaraz could have 30 and be far away the best that ever played the sport.