Tennis players aren't the most open athletes, even though they do press pretty much daily. Some of them may share more than others, but very few times will you see a tennis player being open with his thoughts and doubts.
It's why Nick Kyrgios sticks so out because he says it all and does it without any inhibition. The younger players, including Carlos Alcaraz, have somewhat been better with all of that.
He's been quite forthcoming about his frustrations, especially recently with all the disappointing losses. One such moment came recently as he admitted to thinking about Djokovic any time he practices, which was praised by former player Pam Shriver, who talked about it in a recent episode of the Inside In Podcast.
Well, I think that's part of building a rivalry, right? I mean it's really been special what has happened since Roland Garros because that was the semifinal that everybody wanted. I guess they played in Madrid the year before, but they hadn't played in a Major. And then even though it did not end up great because of the loss of condition by Alcaraz, the first two sets were just mind-blowingly great. And then in the Wimbledon final, the same.
So whenever you can get two great matchups late in a Major that are that memorable, a rivalry is born. And I love the fact that Alcaraz just says out front, 'I think about him [Novak Djokovic] every day. I don't know if he thinks of the number 23, because that would be a little intimidating.
Rivalries are important in sports as a great part of what made the big three so special were the fierce rivalries. We see it happening with Alcaraz and Djokovic this year and statements like that only add to it.