Andy Roddick has come to Carlos Alcaraz's defense, saying even Novak Djokovic "did not have his body completely figured out at 20 either." Late in the Cincinnati Masters final against Djokovic, Alcaraz started experiencing cramps in his right hand.
Alcaraz was able to finish the match that lasted three hours and 49 minutes but it was Djokovic who claimed a 5-7 7-6 (7) 7-6 (4) win. For 20-year-old Alcaraz, this was not the first time that he experienced a physical issue mid-match.
Just a few months ago, Alcaraz experienced full-body cramps during a French Open semifinal loss against Djokovic. But Roddick believes Alcaraz has been improving in that aspect and eventually will reach the level where he won't be experiencing this issue anymore.
Roddick defends Alcaraz after cramps against Djokovic
“Let's give some fair context. Novak didn't have his body completely figured out when he was 20 years old either, right? Like the book [on how to play these matches] used to be let's extend rallies.
What I used to try to do when I was playing Novak would now be a suicide mission against Novak. So we do need to give Carlos the appropriate amount of time to figure out his body. I changed midway through, diet can make a huge difference, but it's trial and error, right? Listen, Carlos is already an hour and a half better than he is normally in extreme conditions when he gets to cramps.
[Jannik] Sinner was like 2:20 [2022 US Open quarterfinals], [Cameron] Norrie last year was 2:20 at this exact tournament [quarterfinals]. The French Open, it was about the 2:20 mark. Now we're talking about the 3:50 mark, same problem but it's getting better.
That's progress,” Roddick said on Tennis Channel. Alcaraz and Djokovic set a new record for the longest-ever ATP final in Cincinnati. Their next meeting could potentially come in the US Open final.