Carlos Alcaraz Beats Seven-Time Champion Djokovic In Epic To Win Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz Beats Seven-Time Champion Djokovic In Epic To Win Wimbledon



Carlos Alcaraz overcame a first-set hammering to beat Novak Djokovic in a thrilling match to claim his first Wimbledon title at the age of 20. 

The rollercoaster final at SW19 saw the top seed bounce back to triumph 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, against a player who had won the past four editions of the tournament. Sunday’s showdown featured a staggering 25-minute Djokovic service game in which Alcaraz broke in front of an animated crowd who was cheering the youngster on with chants of ‘Carlos, Carlos.’ In total, the two battled on court for four hours and 42 minutes in what was one of the longest-ever title matches to take place. 

“It’s a dream come true for me. I said before it would have been so good to win but even if would have lost I would be really proud of myself,” Alcaraz said afterward.
“Making history in this beautiful tournament, playing a final against a legend of the sport. It’s a dream come true.’
“It is unbelievable to play in these stages. It’s amazing for a boy – 20 years-old – I didn’t expect to reach this situation really fast.
“I am really proud of myself, I am really proud of the team and the work we put in every day to be able to lift this (trophy).”

Djokovic, who was targeting a record-equalling eighth title, got off to a perfect start with the help of some costly errors coming across the court from Alcaraz. Utilizing his extensive defensive skills, he surged to a 5-0 lead with relative ease. It wasn’t until 31 minutes into the match that Alcaraz had something to celebrate after holding for the first time which promoted a huge roar from the crowd. However, the damage was already done by the second seed who closed the opener out on his first set point by hitting a smash.

It was shortly after that Djokovic’s problems started to unfold. The wind was proving to be causing his problems with his serving, Alcaraz was starting to find his footing and the Center Court crowd was much more vocal in their support for the Spaniard. So much so that even Djokovic was toying with them and at one stage encouraged them to cheer louder for him. Quite a surreal scenario when you consider he is the most decorated Grand Slam player in the history of men’s tennis.

The tension was high throughout the second set when Alcaraz broke early on for a 2-0 before getting pegged back. There was little to separate the two heading into what turned out to be a dramatic tiebreak. Djokovic received a time violation whilst down 4-5 but still managed to hold. Two points later a backhand down the line set him up for a two-set lead but he failed to convert. Paving the way for Alcaraz to work his way to a set point which he converted with a blistering passing shot. 

Alcaraz’s breakthrough brought to an end opponents’ run of winning 15 straight tiebreaks in Grand Slam matches. Continuing to gain momentum into the third frame, he went on to triumph in what was the most dramatic game of the final and some could argue the entire tournament. A marathon Djokovic service game lasted more than 25 minutes and featured a staggering 13 deuces before the world No.1 broke to secure a commanding 4-1 lead before moving to a set away from glory.

The rollercoaster continued with a relentless Djokovic fighting back in the fourth frame to force a decider. He managed to do so with the help of a double break in his favor with the set ending with an Alcaraz double fault. 

Despite the Serbian’s best efforts, it was not enough. Alcaraz’s continued to chase down every ball and wear down his rival. The decisive blow occurred three games into the decider when he broke a livid Djokovic who smashed his racket on the net post out of anger. Continuing to hold his nerve, he worked his way to his first championship point with a 130 mph serve that Djokovic returned out. He then prevailed after a Djokovic shot crashed into the net. 

“After the first set I thought ‘Carlos, increase the level. Everyone would be disappointed,’ the new champion commented.
“I have to congratulate Novak, it was amazing to play against him. You inspire me a lot. I started playing tennis watching you. Since I was born you were already winning tournaments. You said 36 is the new 36 and you make that happen. It’s amazing.”

Alcaraz has become just the third Spanish man to win the title and only the second in the Open Era after Rafael Nadal. He is also the third-youngest men’s Wimbledon champion in history after Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg. Since 1969, only four other players on the ATP Tour have managed to win multiple major titles before the age of 21.

Before this season, Alcaraz had never won a Tour-level match on the Grass but this year he has managed to record 12 consecutive wins on the surface which started at Queen’s. His triumph has secured his place as No.1 which would have been taken away from him if Djokovic had won. 

“I thought I would have trouble with you only on clay and hard court, but not on grass but now it’s a different story from this year obviously,” said an emotional Djokovic who began to cry during the trophy presentation when he saw his son in the crowd. 
“Congrats, an amazing way to adapt to the surface. You played maybe one or twice. Amazing, what you did in Queens and congratulations to everybody in your team.’
“As for me, you never like to lose matches like these but I guess when all the emotions are settled I’ll have to be very grateful. I won many tight and close matches in the past here, to name a few. 2019 against Roger. Maybe I should have lost a few finals that I won so maybe this is even stevens.”

Alcaraz is the first player to have beaten Djokovic on the Wimbledon Center Court since Andy Murray, who was in the crowd watching, back in 2013. 

“I’ve fallen in love with grass right now. It’s amazing. I didn’t expect to play at this level in a really short period,” he summed up when asked about his 2023 campaign on the surface.
“I have played just four tournaments on grass, I won Queen’s. It’s a dream come true. I am happy with the work we were doing, coming into the grass season. I learn really fast and I am really proud.”


Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro



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One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Injured Alcaraz Pulls Out of Rio Open After Two Games

A sprained ankle a couple of minutes into his debut at the Rio Open forced top seed Carlos Alcaraz to abandon his match against Thiago Monteiro



Carlos Alcaraz after the injury - Rio 2024 (photo Tennis TV)

For world no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, this year’s Rio Open lasted two games: the Spanish champion had to retire on the score of 1-1 in the first set during his first-round match against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro due to a sprained right ankle suffered in the second point of the match.

In an accident somewhat reminiscent of the terrible one suffered by Zverev in the semi-final of Roland Garros 2022, Alcaraz’s right foot “got stuck”  in the clay as he returned towards the center of the court after returning from the left, and he immediately flew to the ground dropping his racket. The Spaniard immediately asked for a medical time-out, but as soon as he took off his shoe it was immediately clear that his ankle had already swollen.

After having a tight bandage applied, Alcaraz tried to continue the match, but just two games later he understood that it was not possible to continue so he shook hands with his opponent, abandoning the Brazilian tournament.

The match was played on a very heavy court due to the rain that had fallen heavily during the day. The organizers had been forced to cancel the daytime session and play could only begin around 7.30 pm local time, after the courts had remained under pouring water all day.

Alcaraz told the press present in Rio: “I think these things happen, especially on clay. It wasn’t a problem with the court, I hurt myself in a change of direction and this happens on this type of surface. I went back into the match to see if I could continue or not. I spoke to the physiotherapist on the court and we decided, together, that I would continue to see if the ankle would improve. It didn’t happen, so we preferred to be cautious and withdraw as a precaution.”

Considering that Alcaraz left the court on his own two feet and managed to wobble through a couple of games after the injury, it is quite likely that the injury he suffered is much less serious than the one that kept Alexander Zverev away from tournaments for over seven months. However, it will be necessary to verify whether it is just a sprain or whether tendons or ligaments have been involved. If this were to be the case, the prognosis could turn out to be longer, and this is happening less than two weeks before the start of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami.

The Spaniard is scheduled to play an exhibition in Las Vegas on 3rd March against Rafael Nadal: it will be decided in the next few days whether to withdraw as a precaution for the first Masters 1000 of the season in Indian Wells.

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Can Jannik Sinner dodge the morning-after syndrome?

Very few players have managed to follow up their first triumph in a Major. Hewitt is the last new Grand Slam champion to immediately win an ATP title. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer all misfired, can Jannik Sinner do better?



Jannik Sinner - Australian Open 2024 (photo: X @federtennis)

By Roman Bongiorno

“The morning-after syndrome,” as they call it. The list of great champions who have suffered from it – Carlos Alcaraz, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, is impressive.  Some of the most illustrious names in our sport, the most successful ever. Yet, even for those who are legends, the match immediately after their first Grand Slam triumph is often an insurmountable hurdle.

The very young Spanish phenomenon, born in 2003, was the latest striking example. After winning the 2022 US Open and becoming the new world No. 1, Alcaraz managed to win just one set in his next two matches: he lost 6-7 6-4 6-2 in the Davis Cup against Felix Auger Aliassime, who was definitely on fire in that period, and was inflicted a 7-5 6-3 defeat by veteran David Goffin in his first match at the ATP 500 in Astana.

Mentally, it’ not easy. The most important triumph of one’s life, immediately to be put aside.  And go back to work. The media are quick to pounce on any slip, headlines hinting at signs of a career already over: “it’s gone to his head”, “he has made his money” etc.

Less than a year later, Carlos Alcaraz was once more a Grand Slam champion, beating Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon.

Just think of tennis legends such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who fell victims to this serious syndrome. The former, after his triumph at Roland Garros 2005, stepped back on court on the green grass of Halle, losing in 3 sets to the world number 147 German Alexander Waske: 4-6 7-5 6-3. For many, that was a disastrous defeat foreshadowing a future that would not be as bright as it had seemed. Rafa told another story, by winning another 21 Grand Slam titles, on every surface.

The Serbian, on the other hand, thrived on the hard courts of Melbourne, just like Jannik Sinner. In 2008, after winning the title, he was engaged in Davis Cup against Russia. He did not finish his rubber against Nikolay Davydenko and retired at the beginning of the fourth set while trailing 2 sets to 1. In his first ATP tour appearance, in Marseille, after brushing aside Ivan Dodig, he was ousted in three sets by Gilles Simon. Over the following 15 years Novak Djokovic went on to become the has become the most successful player ever.

What about Roger Federer? After lifting the trophy won at Wimbledon in 2003, he moved to the home clay of Gstaad.  He survived the morning-after syndrome  after a fierce but victorious struggle in the first round with the Spaniard Marc Lopez, ranked No.190. Then he cruised till the final, but was defeated in a five set hustle 5-7 6-3 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Jiri Novak.

The morning-after did not spare Juan Martin del Potro. After his stunning victory over Federer at the 2009 US Open, he set foot on an ATP tennis court three weeks later in Tokyo. It was Edouard Roger Vassellin, 189th in the world, who spoiled the party, neatly defeating the Argentinian in two sets, 64 64.

Even “Ice man” Bjorn Borg, the man without (apparent) emotions, focused only on tennis and winning, lost the first match after his success at Roland Garros 1974. He was defeated in the first round in Nottingham by world No. 71 Milan Holecek from Czechoslovakia. Over the next years he definitely made up for that impasse on English lawns.

A rare bird at last, and not by chance does it come from Australia, a land which is ever so rich in unique species. Lleyton Hewitt, who in 2001 after steamrolling Pete Sampras in the US Open final, immediately won his next matches, two singles rubbers in the Davis Cup against Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson, and then went on to win in Tokyo by beating Michel Kratochvil in the final.

Jannik Sinner has been building up his success on gruelling feats. Sure he’s eager to be back on the Dutch indoor courts of Rotterdam where he enjoyed a brilliant run last year, only surrendering to Danil Medvedev in the final. Just one year ago the Russian seemed an impossible opponent to defeat. Now, in the last 4 challenges, Jannik has beaten him 4 times. The last one, in the final of the Australian Open.

Rotterdam could have been the stage for a rematch, but Medvedev has pulled out of the tournament. Jannik Sinner appears as a favourite, and is vying to close in on that third place of the rankings currently held by Daniil.

Jannik has set out on his mission. But even if he were to be defeated in the first round by an opponent ranked beyond the top 200, no one should dare cry failure. Italy at last has a Grand Slam winner, and he is not to be downplay him in case of first defeats.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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