For thus lengthy, the query had been: “Why can’t the following era cease Novak Djokovic?”
Carlos Alcaraz, frozen by concern on the prospect of taking part in Djokovic within the French Open semi-finals, lastly did it.
Not solely did the Spaniard beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam ultimate, he beat the 36-year-old Serb on the place the place he has been unbeatable lately.
Amid a feverish ambiance on Centre Court docket on Sunday, the 20-year-old gained an exciting five-set ultimate to declare the Wimbledon males’s singles title.
It stopped Djokovic successful a fifth successive title at SW19, an eighth males’s title on the All England Membership and a twenty fourth main total – all record-equalling feats.
Echoing the ideas of many onlookers, nine-time Wimbledon males’s doubles champion Todd Woodbridge described Alcaraz’s win as a “altering of the guard”.
“I did it for myself, not for the tennis era, actually,” mentioned Alcaraz, who grew to become the primary participant to beat Djokovic on Centre Court docket because the 2013 ultimate.
“Beating Novak at his finest, on this stage, making historical past, being the man to beat him after 10 years unbeaten on that court docket, is superb for me.
“However it’s nice for the brand new era, as effectively, I feel to see me beating him and making them suppose that they’re succesful to do it.”
It has lengthy been requested which gamers would tackle the lads’s recreation after the careers of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal – who is about to retire subsequent 12 months – and Roger Federer, who known as it a day final 12 months.
Djokovic was bidding to win the seventh of the previous 9 Grand Slams he has performed in, having already claimed the Australian Open and French Open titles this 12 months.
Though the Melbourne victory got here in a event the place Alcaraz was dominated out by means of harm, the younger Spaniard was unable to cease him in Paris.
Alcaraz noticed his hopes in final month’s much-anticipated semi-final in opposition to Djokovic ruined by full physique cramps brought on by nerves.
The aura of the then 22-time main champion loomed giant. Factoring in Djokovic’s method, ways, mentality on the court docket and resilience off it, he has created a formidable determine which has overawed his youthful opponents.
Previously 5 seasons, Djokovic has misplaced solely eight of the 52 matches he has performed in opposition to opponents below the age of 23.
Added to that, Alcaraz was solely the second youthful opponent – after Daniil Medvedev on the 2021 US Open – to beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam ultimate since 2020.
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have dominated the game for a lot of the previous twenty years, with Alcaraz turning into the primary man to win a number of Grand Slams since Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in 2016.
The Spaniard can also be the primary man aside from Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Andy Murray to win Wimbledon since 2002.
Alcaraz’s all-round recreation is a pleasure to look at. In addition to energy from the baseline, he has a deft contact across the internet and is ready to cowl the court docket along with his athleticism.
Some have mentioned Alcaraz’s fashion takes components from every of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal.
“I’d agree with that. I feel he’s acquired principally the perfect of all three worlds,” mentioned Djokovic.
“He’s acquired this Spanish bull mentality of competitiveness and combating spirit and unbelievable defence that we’ve seen with Rafa through the years.
“And I feel he’s acquired some good sliding backhands that have gotten some similarities with my backhands. Two-handed backhands, defence, with the ability to adapt.
“I feel that has been my private power for a few years. He has it, too.
“I haven’t performed a participant like him ever, to be trustworthy. Roger and Rafa have their very own clearly strengths and weaknesses.
“Carlos is a really full participant. Superb adapting capabilities that I feel are key for longevity and for da profitable profession on all surfaces.”
Djokovic, who turned 36 in Might and claimed “36 is the brand new 26” within the build-up to Sunday’s ultimate, has no plans to retire but and confirmed once more this fortnight his powers are usually not waning.
However with the top of his profession coming into view, Alcaraz is primed to take over on the prime for the lengthy haul.
Alcaraz grew to become the one teenager to change into the lads’s world primary when he gained the US Open final 12 months and stays prime of the rankings by claiming his second main title at Wimbledon.
Such has been his emergence, just a few of the gamers as soon as heralded because the ‘subsequent era’ to succeed the ‘huge three’ could also be involved they’ve missed the boat.
“Who’s going to match this child for the following few years?” requested 1987 Wimbledon winner Pat Money. “It’s exhausting to see anyone.”