Carlos Alcaraz has had a year to remember, which has ended with a balance of 65 wins and 12 losses, including 6 ATP Tour titles.
5) Queen’s, R1, Alcaraz v. and Rinderknech 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3)
“On grass I don’t have that much experience and the games I have played have cost me a lot.”
Before debuting at the cinch Championships, Alcaraz acknowledged his doubts ahead of the grass season. However, the Spaniard overcame a tough debut against Rinderknech, coming back in the first round and overcoming the tiebreaker in the third and gaining momentum.
Alcaraz, who also needed to recover from a break at the start of the third set (0-2), ended up beating the Frenchman to achieve a key victory: since then, the Spaniard had a 12-0 set on grass, lifting along the way the titles at Queen’s and Wimbledon.
4) Indian Wells, SF, Alcaraz v. a Sinner 7-6(4), 6-3
Alcaraz could not attend the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, as a result of an injury to his right leg. However, the start of the Spaniard’s season was exceptional: he won in Buenos Aires, reached the final in Rio de Janeiro and achieved glory at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, culminating his first three tournaments of 2023 with an outstanding performance.
Before beating Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells grand final, Alcaraz withstood a strong challenge against Jannik Sinner in the semifinals. Each match between the Spanish and the Italian, who maintain a great rivalry, is usually full of great points, a good dose of emotion and intensity in abundance from start to finish.
What happened in the Californian desert was another example of what the train crash between Alcaraz and Sinner represents. The victory, on this occasion, went to the Spaniard, who had to overcome an intense tiebreaker, having to lift a set point against him in a demonstration of survival.
“It was hard,” Alcaraz later admitted. “A difficult moment for me. I didn’t do the right things. I would say that everything was too fast and at that moment you have to slow down, think carefully, and that was not the case for me. I think at that point in the game, he started to play better. I was fighting against myself. “It was a difficult moment.”
Alcaraz ended up defeating Sinner in two sets after overcoming that difficult situation in the tie-break of the opening set.
3) Madrid, Final, Alcaraz v. a Struff 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
To unlock the challenge of defending the title at home, in front of the eyes of his audience, Alcaraz had to deal with the pressure in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open, in which he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in a tense match decided in the third partial.
“There have been moments when things have gotten very complicated and I have smiled many times with my team,” Alcaraz explained after the victory. “In the end the only thing I have changed is being positive at the beginning of the third and going for everything in the opportunities I have had. I believe in my ability to play in important moments. It’s when I’m able to do things different from the rest. In important moments I grow and give my best level.”
That was exactly what Alcaraz did, growing when the moment of truth arrived. In a packed Manolo Santana Stadium, where the previous year he had won for the first time by defeating Alexander Zverev, the Spaniard retained the title at the ATP Masters 1000 in the capital of Spain, putting aside his fears when the moment of truth arrived against him. surprising German, qualified to play in a final of that category for the first time in his career.
After taking the first set and losing the second, Alcaraz relied on the Spanish public and held on to his best version to end up beating Struff, thus crowning the Caja Mágica for the second time in his short career.
2) Cincinnati. Final, Djokovic v. a Alcaraz 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4)
Weeks after the Wimbledon final, Djokovic took revenge in the decisive match of the Western & Southern Open, but Alcaraz fell with honors in an incredible battle. The Spaniard, who had a championship point, could not complete what would have been his second consecutive victory against the Serbian, although he left a memorable performance on the Cincinnati track that lasted three hours and 49 minutes.
“It’s crazy to talk about it now, but I left the court very, very happy with what I did,” Alcaraz later said after the game. “Of course, I’ve been talking to my coach and my team, and we’re very proud of ourselves.”
Thanks to a brilliant start, Alcaraz took advantage in the final by taking the first set against a fatigued Djokovic, a consequence of the high temperatures of the day in Cincinnati. However, the Serbian recovered to toughen the fight for the trophy, taking it to the limit against an Alcaraz who was impeccable in all aspects of the game.
With everything tied, Alcaraz had a match point in the second set tiebreaker, which Djokovic saved by dominating the point from the beginning to give his opponent no options. After that, the Serbian gritted his teeth to take that heat, tie the final and force the decider.
A third set to remember saw Djokovic take the crown after resisting an immense Alcaraz who fought until the last point, leaving everything in the Cincinnati center to build one of the best matches in recent years.
1) Wimbledon, Final, Alcaraz v. and Djokovic 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
Surely the best match of 2023. After Djokovic won the first set of the Wimbledon grand final by a resounding 6-1, everything pointed to the Serbian being crowned champion again at the All England Tennis Club.
However, Alcaraz raised his level to star in a comeback that is already part of the sports history books, and that he built by taking the second set in the tiebreaker and the third clearly, before losing the fourth and facing the decisive partial of the Wimbledon final bare chested.
“It is a dream come true for me, it is incredible to win, but even if I had lost I would be very proud of myself for making history in this tournament,” said Alcaraz. “It is fantastic to beat Novak in his best moment, at this stage, to make history and to be the one who beats him after 10 years undefeated on that track, is incredible for me. It is something I will never forget.”
Alcaraz began the fifth set by saving a break point with an outstanding defense. The Spaniard then broke Djokovic’s serve and never looked back to become, at the age of 20, the youngest Wimbledon champion in the last 40 years.