Carlos Alcaraz is the 2023 Wimbledon champion, but is he the new dominant force in men’s tennis?
The 20-year-old Spaniard was a novice on grass heading into the English summer, but now holds the Queen’s Club title along with the biggest title of them all, Wimbledon.
ALL HAIL KING CARLOS
Carlos Alcaraz himself admitted he didn’t expect to beat Novak Djokovic on Wimbledon’s Centre Court so soon into his grass career, but this wonder kid is rewriting tennis logic at a rapid rate.
Aside from the great Rafael Nadal, young players growing up playing on Spanish clay have never turned up to take the title from the game’s all-time grass greats.
However, Alcaraz is working to a different rulebook, proving it by winning a thrilling five-set final against seven-time champion Novak Djokovic.
“I thought I would have trouble with Carlos only on clay and hard court, but not on grass this year,” conceded Djokovic.
“I think people have been talking in the past 12 months or so about his game consisting of certain elements from Roger, Rafa, and myself. I would agree with that. I think he’s got basically the best of all three worlds.”
WHAT NEXT FOR DJOKOVIC?
It’s unlikely that the Grand Slam champion in men’s tennis will accept this as the end of his reign at the top.
While this defeat will hurt, the 36-year-old will be eyeing up his long-awaited return to the US next month as a chance to remind the world that there is much more left in him.
Alcaraz may have won this battle and confirmed he is the future of men’s tennis – but he will need to beat Djokovic a few more times to confirm he has knocked him off his perch for good.
“I hope this is a great rivalry for me with Carlos,” said Djokovic in his post-match press conference at Wimbledon.
“He’s going to be on the tour for quite some time. I don’t know how long I’ll be around.”
Djokovic may see the emergence of Alcaraz as the beginning of his end or he could use it as motivation to mount a revival.
Given the sparkling form Djokovic showed over the course of Wimbledon and in some parts of the final against Alcaraz, expect the latter.
COMING UP SHORT
Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Andy Murray in the second round at Wimbledon, but his fourth-round defeat against plucky American Christopher Eubanks continued a horrible run of form for the Greek star.
He is still in the top five of the ATP rankings, but he doesn’t look like a contender for the biggest titles in the sport as he heads into the second half of 2023.
The scale of Daniil Medvedev’s defeat against Alcaraz in the Wimbledon semi-finals was also a glaring example of how far he has fallen in the race to take on the best in the world.
World No.3 Medvedev viewed his run to the final four at the All England Club as a credible effort but didn’t come close to challenging Alcaraz, leaving him with plenty to ponder.
The trend of early exits continued for Andy Murray and Taylor Fritz and for Murray, the end of his career may beckon unless he finds form during the US hard court swing next month.
BRITISH HOPES RAISED
This was not a great Wimbledon for Britain’s tennis hopefuls, but 17-year-old Henry Searle provided real hope for the future by winning the boys’ singles title.
The 17-year-old from Wolverhampton became the first homegrown winner of the Wimbledon boys’ singles title since Stanley Matthews, the son of the great footballer, in 1962.
Searle – who trains at the LTA’s Loughborough Academy and hit a stinging 134mph serve on his way to the title – now has his eyes on the men’s game.
“I think there’s the jump to the men’s game that needs to be done a little bit quicker. Hopefully that can happen now,” said Searle.
“I’ll continue to work hard to play to the level in the men’s.
“The plan is to still do my A-Levels. How easy that will be I don’t know with all the travelling. I struggled enough as it is this year with travelling. At the end of long days it’s not ideal to try and sit down in front of a book.
“But I’ll see what happens. If the tennis is going well enough, I might not have to do them.”