Toppling the Titan: Rune, Alcaraz, Sinner Target Novak Djokovic in 2024

Three young guns earned four wins over Novak Djokovic in the previous season

by Jovica Ilic
Toppling the Titan: Rune, Alcaraz, Sinner Target Novak Djokovic in 2024
© Valerio Pennicino / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic wrapped up the 2023 season with seven losses. The young guns, Holger Rune, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz took care of four, challenging the world's best player from 11 encounters against him. Rune admitted the main goal for him, Alcaraz and Sinner remains to overpower Djokovic in 2024.

The Dane confirmed they could not do that regularly or in the most significant matches in 2023, hoping to improve that in the season ahead of us. Holger ousted Novak in the Rome quarter-final, and Carlos overpowered him in that memorable Wimbledon final, delivering Novak's only loss at Majors in 2023.

Sinner stepped in in the closing stages of the year, ousting Djokovic in the round-robin stage of the ATP Finals and again at the Davis Cup Finals after fending off three match points. Rune met Djokovic in the Rome Masters quarter-final, ousting the defending champion 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 19 minutes, helping Alcaraz take the ATP throne from the Serb.

Novak did not look good on the court, delivering two return games and suffering five breaks, failing to match the rival's pace in sets one and three. The Dane grabbed a break in the encounter's first game and extended the gap to 4-1 after the Serb's forehand error.

Novak saved a set point on serve in game seven, and Holger closed the set with a service winner in the next one for 6-2. Djokovic raised his level in the second set and secured a break in game six for 4-2. Novak served for the set at 5-3, losing serve and keeping Holger in contention before delivering another break in game ten, forcing a decider after a rain delay.

Losing energy, Djokovic suffered two breaks and found himself 3-0 behind. Rune served for the victory at 5-2 and held at 30, celebrating his second triumph over Djokovic. Carlos beat Novak in a memorable Wimbledon final two months later, securing his second Major crown at 20!

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

The defending champion was the favorite, but the young gun outplayed him 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in four hours and 42 minutes, becoming the third-youngest Wimbledon champion.

Carlos played bold tennis, delivering 66 winners and 45 unforced errors. They created 34 break points in windy conditions and split ten breaks. Novak dominated the opener and made a set point in the second set. His backhand let him down, allowing Alcaraz to level the overall score and gain a boost.

Carlos controlled the pace in the third set and started all over in the decider, breaking Novak's resistance with an early break and celebrating his second Major title. Djokovic took down Alcaraz in an epic Cincinnati final after an epic battle, gaining confidence and carrying it toward the US Open title.

The veteran worked hard against Rune at the Paris Masters, serving revenge for last year's final and prevailing after nearly three hours. Novak's four out of five ATP Finals duels came versus the top youngsters, and he mastered them nicely to extend his legacy.

Holger Rune wants more wins over Novak Djokovic in 2024.

Djokovic overpowered Rune after over three hours in the first match before falling to Sinner in the second. The Italian edged the Serb 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 in three hours and eight minutes, notching his first triumph over Novak.

The encounter saw 35 aces and only six break points on the fast indoor court. Novak grabbed one break and lost serve two times, falling in the closing stages and suffering his sixth loss of the season. Djokovic lost serve at 5-5 in the opener despite leading 40-0.

Sinner held at love in the next one, wrapping up the opener and gaining a boost. The second set reached a tie break, and Novak clinched it 7-5 with a service winner, forcing a decider after over two hours. They traded breaks in games six and seven and served well to arrange the decisive tie break.

Jannik made a fresh start and moved 5-0 in front before firing a smash winner at 6-2, celebrating a massive victory.

Holger Rune & Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals 2023© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak reached the semi-final thanks to Jannik and made no more mistakes, scoring dominant victories over Alcaraz and Sinner and lifting the trophy.

Djokovic's final match of the season came in the Davis Cup Finals semi-final versus Italy, missing a chance to propel Serbia into the final. Novak suffered a heavy 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 loss to Jannik, wasting three match points at 5-4 in the decider.

Each player dominated in the opening two sets, sending the duel into the third. Jannik faced a break point at 3-4 and denied it with a forehand drive-volley winner. Djokovic pushed strong on the return at 5-4, earning three match points.

Sinner stayed calm and saved them with bold hitting, holding with two powerful serves and gaining a boost. The Italian fired a forehand winner in the 11th game, breaking the Serb and moving over the top on his serve in the next one, beating Novak for the second time within a week.

"The main goal for the young players is to take down Novak Djokovic. We could not do that last year, although Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and I beat him. Carlos did that in the Wimbledon final, but Novak won other notable matches against us. We have not been consistent enough to challenge him," Holger Rune said.

Alcaraz Novak Djokovic