Carlos Alcaraz on Novak Djokovic Wimbledon final: 'I was nervous since breakfast'

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic battled in last year's title match at Wimbledon

by Jovica Ilic
Carlos Alcaraz on Novak Djokovic Wimbledon final: 'I was nervous since breakfast'
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Carlos Alcaraz is the defending Wimbledon champion, having won the most desired trophy in our sport over Novak Djokovic. Speaking about last year's final, Carlos admitted he was anxious since breakfast, feeling nervous ahead of the most essential duel of his career against the greatest player ever.

The young Spaniard did everything to relax and prepare for the battle, spending over half an hour on a physio table and relaxing. As it turned out, the 20-year-old made the perfect preparation, toppling the seven-time champion 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in four hours and 42 minutes, becoming the third-youngest Wimbledon champion!

Novak was the favorite, and everything worked well for him early on. The four-time defending champion left the young gun behind in the opening set and had a set point in the second, looking good to open a massive advantage.

However, the Spaniard stayed focused, saved it and stole the breaker after the Serb's loose backhands.

Carlos Alcaraz & Novak Djokovic, 2023 Wimbledon© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Alcaraz had the upper hand in the third set and sealed the deal with a fine performance in the decider after an early break.

The conditions on Center Court were challenging, and two rivals gave their best to present their A-game. The servers offered the returners 34 break points, and we witnessed five breaks on each side. Novak refused to surrender, bouncing back after a terrible performance in the third set and forcing a decider, chasing the record-equalling eighth Wimbledon trophy.

Alcaraz was the more aggressive player, firing 60 winners and welcoming Djokovic's 50 unforced errors. Novak caused more mistakes from Carlos and stayed in touch until the end. Nothing separated them in the shortest exchanges, and Djokovic played a bit better in the mid-range ones.

Alcaraz erased the deficit in the most extended rallies and made the difference with that early break in the decider.

Carlos Alcaraz, 2023 Wimbledon© Patrick Smith / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Carlos Alcaraz revealed how nervous he was ahead of his first Wimbledon final.

Novak faced a break point in the first game of the encounter, denying it and avoiding an early setback.

Djokovic broke in the second game and notched another two games later for a massive 4-0 advantage. The Serb served well in games five and seven, taking the opener 6-1 after 34 minutes. Alcaraz raised his level early in the second set, breaking Djokovic in the second game for his first advantage.

Novak pulled the break back in the next one and denied a break point in the next one to level the score at 2-2. The Serb held after a deuce while serving to stay in the set in the tenth game and produced a fine hold two games later, introducing a tie break.

Djokovic earned a set point with a backhand winner at 5-5 but could not convert it, spraying a couple of loose backhands that would cost him dearly. Carlos landed a return winner at 7-6, wrapping up the set and leveling the overall score after two hours.

Carlos Alcaraz & Novak Djokovic, 2023 Wimbledon© Patrick Smith / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Djokovic lost a tie break at Majors after conquering 15 in a row, losing ground and struggling in the third set.

The Spaniard pushed strong and grabbed three breaks, clinching it 6-1 and moving closer to the title. They wrote history in the fifth game, battling for 27 minutes and making it the most extended game in the Wimbledon finals!

Alcaraz converted the seventh break chance for a massive boost of confidence, notching another return game at 5-1 with a backhand winner and moving closer to the finish line after three hours. With no room for errors, Novak took an extended break ahead of the fourth set and stayed competitive after denying two break points in the second game.

The Serb converted the third break point in the fifth game, moving in front and gathering a boost.

Carlos Alcaraz, 2023 Wimbledon© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Djokovic made another push on the return at 5-3, delivering a break at 15 and forcing a decider after nearly four hours.

The veteran saved a break point in the first game and denied a break chance in the next one, leveling the score at 1-1. Alcaraz stepped in on the return in game three, landing a backhand down the line winner and securing a crucial break that pushed him closer to the finish line.

The youngster held at love in the fourth game with an ace and repeated that two games later for 4-2. Carlos secured the eighth game with an ace, opening a 5-3 gap and serving for the title in game ten. The 20-year-old held at 30, forcing Djokovic's mistake and celebrating the proudest moment of his young career.

"Of course, I was nervous ahead of last year's Wimbledon final. I had a difficult time before stepping on the court, admitting to my psychologist how incredibly nervous I had been since breakfast. I tried to relax with music, lie on a physio table for over 30 minutes and control my emotions.

I was still tense when Novak and I stepped on Center Court, but I at least made a solid warmup and preparation for the duel," Carlos Alcaraz said.

Carlos Alcaraz Novak Djokovic Wimbledon