TennisMy Sporting Highlight

Sports Review 2023: Carlos Alcaraz makes statement win for the new generation

The ageing champion Novak Djokovic was seeking his fifth straight title - all he had to do was beat an upcoming young Spaniard

Wimbledon final, July 16th

It had been 21 years since a player outside of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal or Andy Murray had stood on the famous lawn with the Wimbledon men’s singles title. Many over the years had gone in with a puncher’s chance.

But nobody outside that four had prevented Federer from collecting eight titles, Djokovic seven, Nadal and Murray both two, with the competition not played in 2020 due to Covid. Lleyton Hewitt’s straight-set win over David Nalbandian in 2002 was the last.

Centre Court was littered with the dreams of credentialed names. Mark Philippoussis and Andy Roddick with their big serves. Tomas Berdych similarly in 2010. Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson in 2018, Italian Matteo Berrittini in 2021 and 2022 the brattish Nick Kyrgios. Years of false dawns.

In July, the ageing champion Djokovic was seeking his fifth straight title. All he had to do was beat an upcoming young Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz, who had won the US Open the previous year.


Losing 6-1 in the first set sent groans from Alcaraz fans rippling through the stands. A tiebreak and narrow second set pulled the 20-year-old back into the match, a 6-1 third stamping it with some authority. Djokovic responded brilliantly with a 6-3 fourth to level, throwing the final into a fifth set decider against an opponent 16 years younger and in just his fourth tournament on grass.

The resilience of youth, big hitting and serving peppered the court, the match at one stage threatening to become the longest in history in front of Irish chair umpire Fergus Murphy. But it was Alcaraz who launched a new generation, his all-round game and sang froid bulletproof in the shootout, a wide forehand finally throwing the Serb beyond where even he felt comfortable as Alcaraz fell to the ground; a new Wimbledon champion.

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