Carlos Alcaraz’s fights remind me of Rafael Nadal’s rivalry

Carlos Alcaraz's fights remind me of Rafael Nadal's rivalry
Novak Djokovic ripped his shirt in celebration after his epic victory over Carlos Alcaraz

Novak Djokovic tears his shirt in celebration after his epic win over Carlos Alcaraz – The Enquirer / Kareem Elgazzar

Novak Djokovic said that his rivalry with Carlos Alcaraz has become similar to the one he shared with his Spanish compatriot Rafa Nadal, after he needed nearly four hours to hold out against the 20-year-old world number one in the final of the Cincinnati Open on Sunday.

In an exciting rematch They face off at WimbledonDjokovic saved a match point before avenging his defeat with a 5–7, 7–6, 7–6 victory in three hours and 49 minutes—the longest three-set final in ATP Tour history.

The veteran Serb compared it to the 2012 Australian Open final, when he defeated Nadal in five hours and 53 minutes. The pair have engaged in a storied rivalry for the past 15 years and have faced each other 59 times.

“I don’t think I’ve played many matches like this in my life,” said Djokovic, 36. “Maybe I can compare it to the final against Nadal at the 2012 Australian Open.

“Obviously, three sets today, but it’s almost four hours. You just have to put your hats on a guy like that. He plays very maturely, and he handles the pressure very well for a 20-year-old.

“We can’t forget how young he is. That’s something admirable about him.”

Djokovic (right) and Carlos Alcaraz show off their trophies after the final in Cincinnati

Djokovic (right) and Carlos Alcaraz display their titles after the final in Cincinnati – Getty Images/Matthew Stockman

Sunday’s meeting was the fourth between Djokovic and Alcaraz, with each player winning two matches. Djokovic beat Alcaraz in the semi-finals of the French Open, and the Spaniard got his revenge in the five-set Wimbledon final.

“The feeling I get on court reminds me a bit of when I was playing Nadal when we were in our prime,” added Djokovic, who ahead of the Spaniard on the all-time men’s team list after winning his 23rd title at the tournament. Roland Garros.

“Every point is a hustle. Every point is a battle. You have to earn basically every point, every shot, no matter the conditions. It’s amazing to be able to experience that with him on the court.”

Next for both players is the US Open, where Alcaraz will defend his title when the tournament begins on August 28.

“It’s great to hear this stuff from Novak, (who) played iconic games and old games,” Alcaraz said. “It means me and our team, we’re doing great, we’re on a good path.”

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