The World No. 1 celebrates a point against Carlos Alcaraz
Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the Madrid Open by Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday, with the Spaniard beating him 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) in the semifinals. Despite his defeat, Djokovic believes he has a lot of “positives” to take from his showing in the Spanish capital.
The world No. 1 entered the Madrid Open in scratchy form, having lost three of his eight matches on tour this year, which is uncharacteristic by his lofty standards.
As such, the 34-year-old reckons he produced his “best” tennis of the season in Madrid.
“Yeah, I definitely played very good tennis, I mean, the best that I have played this year,” Novak Djokovic said. “Probably when the disappointment of losing this match passes, I will have a lot of positives to take away from this week.”
Novak Djokovic went on to heap praise on the Spaniard’s composure and maturity.
“Well, congrats to him. He held his nerves very well,” said the Serb. “For somebody of his age to play so maturely and courageously is impressive. He deserved to win.”
“It was just difficult to deal with his ball” – Novak Djokovic on Carlos Alcaraz’s kick serve
Novak Djokovic missed a fair few chances to break Alcaraz’s serve during the match and also failed to put pressure on the latter’s relatively weaker second serve.
The teenager used his kick serve to great effect on certain occasions, which got him out of jail against a returner of Djokovic’s caliber.
When asked if he would have wanted to replay certain points in the match, the 20-time Major champion explained that he did not return too well on his backhand. Admitting that the Spaniard’s kick serve caused him a few problems, the Serb revealed that he struggled to find a good rhythm on his returns.
“Yeah, yeah. Many times I gave him free points there,” Novak Djokovic said. “His kick and altitude here is huge, and it was just difficult to deal with his ball, and I wasn’t feeling my return from that side, you know. He was serving a lot of kick just to put himself in a good position. I just didn’t manage to handle that well.”
One journalist pointed out that the Serb would now enter the Rome Masters with more confidence than he had when he began his Madrid Open campaign. He further added that this could bode well for Djokovic, keeping Roland Garros in mind, to which the Serb answered in the affirmative.
“Well, I think it’s on the good path, definitely,” said the world No. 1