The King Slayer

“Less than six weeks ago, Carlos Alcaraz faced Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the French Open, in what was their first grand slam meeting. Alcaraz could not handle the occasion and after two competitive sets, the Spaniard’s nerves and the tension of playing Djokovic at a grand slam were too much for him. In a sport like tennis, where the spotlight is focussed so intensely on the individual, leaving no hiding place for any weakness or vulnerability, it was jarring to see Alcaraz show the first sign of what might have been his. Such moments can hang over players for years.” Then the Wimbledon rematch began with Djokovic winning the first set 6-1 and it really looked like we were headed for another crushing Djokovic win, and another Wimbledon with one of the big four as the last man standing. But Alcaraz evened the match. Like, really evened it. At one point, late in the fifth set, each player had won 166 points. Alcaraz needed everything to beat Djokovic and slay the king. Meet back here in 15 years to see who slays him. Novak Djokovic has created a unique rival – is Wimbledon defeat the beginning of the end? (Did I mention Djokovic had won 45 straight matches on Centre Court that Alcaraz was playing in only his fourth tournament on grass?)

+ Novak (who couldn’t have been more gracious in defeat): “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.” Carlos Alcaraz’s Wimbledon title shows he is exactly who everyone thought he was.

+ Bottom line: There’s a new King of Lego Hair. (All this being said, I wouldn’t bet against Djokovic in the US Open.)

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