Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic hug after their semi-final encounter in Madrid
Alcaraz became the first player to beat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back on clay and will next face either Alexander Zverev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the summit clash on Sunday.
Speaking to the media after his win over the World No. 1, Alcaraz was asked to pick the best player in the world between the Serb and Nadal. The teenager was quick to name Djokovic, citing the latter’s No. 1 ranking.
Alcaraz did take a diplomatic turn in his response but reiterated Novak Djokovic’s position at the top of the rankings.
“Well, Djokovic, because he’s No. 1. But I don’t know what to say. Both of them are some of the best players of history,” Alcaraz said. “I don’t know how to tell you who is the best. If you want, I can tell you in the ranking, Djokovic is No. 1.”
The journalist probed Alcaraz further, but the 18-year-old stuck to his guns. However, he once again subtly highlighted Djokovic’s ranking.
“I’m not going to tell you that The one that I know, I’m not going to tell you,” said the Spaniard. “I was able to beat No. 1, but still I’m ranked No. 9. I still have eight players in front of me to be the No. 1.”
“I think we played a great match, both of us” – Carlos Alcaraz on his match against Novak Djokovic
During the press conference, Carlos Alcaraz was asked to pick his favorite elements from his win over Novak Djokovic. In response, he said that he liked how he maintained a high standard of tennis throughout the match.
Alcaraz also commended the rallies and his aggressive brand of tennis, which saw him conjure a whopping 51 winners compared to Djokovic’s 24.
“For today’s match? I would say that I play in the same level since the beginning of the match until the last point,” said the Spaniard. “I think we played a great match, both of us, but personally, I would say that I play aggressive all the time. I was focused all the time, as well, and, yeah, we played great rallies, great points. Yeah, I would say, well, that I played the same level.”
While discussing his approach during crucial moments, especially in the deciding set, Carlos Alcaraz stressed that one must go for the jugular during crunch moments. He explained that the ability to go for the kill is what separates the good players from the greats like Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer.
“Well, as I have always said, you have to try to go for the match,” he said. “In those decisive moments is when you see the good players and the top players, that is where you can tell the difference between a good player and a top player, like it’s Djokovic, Rafa, Federer, or all the players that are ultimately there for a long time.”