'Felt Like Winning A Grand Slam': Djokovic On Beating Alcaraz In Cincinnati

'Felt Like Winning A Grand Slam': Djokovic On Beating Alcaraz In Cincinnati

by Sebastian Dahlman

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz played one of the best matches of the year at the 2023 Cincinnati Masters, and it's still something on Djokovic's mind.

You don't just forget a match like that because you're going to feel its effects for a few days at 36. Jokes aside, the match was a spectacular one. It saw Djokovic battle back from an impossible situation, only for Alcaraz to do something similar.

In the end, it was Djokovic who got the win and the trophy, an important win with the US Open around the corner. It was their first hard-court match, and getting that win was important for the mental aspect of their rivalry.

Well, I get nervous as anybody else really. People think that I don't have any stress or tension. Actually in contrary, I have quite a lot of that. I have to deal with it, manage it. Everyone has their own way of managing the emotions and trying to be in optimal balance emotionally, mentally, and physically in order to perform their best.

Djokovic breaks down tension

The match was tough for Djokovic, as he had to overcome both physical issues due to the heat and the relentless nature of Alcaraz and his tennis. He revisited the final, explaining that it was one of the most challenging best-of-three ATP finals he played.

I've played great the entire week prior to the finals. Haven't dropped a set in Cincinnati. Then played night sessions all of the matches, then I played on a very hot day, just experienced physical difficulties.

Carlos was playing very well. He's always pushing me to the limit. I think I do to him pretty much the same thing. That's why we produced memorable final. It was one of the best, most exciting, and most difficult finals I was ever part of in best-of-three, no doubt, throughout my career.

The win was a massive relief for Djokovic, who dropped to the ground in celebrations. He also ripped his shirt later on, releasing a roar while doing it. It was just a way for him to let go of all the energy built up during a match. Asked about it, he said it felt like a Grand Slam.

That's why I fell on the ground after I won the match because it felt like winning a Grand Slam, to be honest. The amount of exchanges and rallies. It was physically so demanding and grueling that I felt very exhausted for the next few days.

Well, the Grand Slam is here. They will battle it out for the trophy at the event; it remains to be seen whether they play against each other. As Djokovic described, it's like a cat and mouse playing; many things are happening.

It's kind of a cat-and-mouse play really on the court. There's a lot of things that are happening. You're trying to outplay or outsmart your opponent tactically, but then you have to fight with your own demons as well, the self-doubt, tension, all the things that are happening in the midst of such battle.


You may also like