Carlos Alcaraz ends Novak Djokovic’s centre court dominance

Tennis Monday July 17, 2023 By: Harry Howes

Another thrilling two weeks at Wimbledon has come to an end and tennis has some new heroes to admire.

Carlos Alcaraz announced himself to English fans as he strolled to his first Wimbledon title, beating Novak Djokovic in an action-packed men’s final. Meanwhile, Marketa Vondrousova was the unlikeliest winner in the women’s final, defeating Ons Jabeur on Saturday.

Andy Murray continued his comeback from the injury but he couldn’t mastermind a fairytale title run as he crashed out to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round.

But there was some homegrown success as Henry Searle became the first Brit to win the boys’ singles since 1962. Neal Skupski claimed another win for the UK as he went all the way in the men’s doubles alongside Wesley Koolhof, while Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid claimed the wheelchair doubles title.

Wimbledon Court 4

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New kid on the block

As Djokovic strolled to a comfortable 6-1 win in the first set, it seemed as though the occasion was too much for Alcaraz in his first Wimbledon final. But once the 20-year-old got in the groove, there was no stopping him.

Having won at Queen’s last month, Alcaraz continued his glittering form on grass and claimed his second Grand Slam title in one of the greatest Wimbledon finals in history.

A tie-break win in the second set followed by a 6-1 trouncing put him in the driving seat, before a Djokovic comeback set up a thrilling final set. And a supportive crowd fired Alcaraz to victory as he made his mark on Wimbledon, setting the tone for what could be years of dominance in the sport.

The world number one dropped just two sets prior to the final and he brushed Daniil Medvedev aside in straight sets in the semis. It was just the fourth grass tournament of Alcaraz’s career and if his showing in the final was anything to go by, there will be plenty more Wimbledon titles to come.

Djokovic has still got it

Despite being 36 years old and in the twilight of his career, Djokovic arguably played the best tennis of his career over the past fortnight. Prior to his five-set showdown with Alcaraz, the Serbian dropped just two sets on his way to the final.

Sunday’s final was the first time Djokovic had tasted defeat on Wimbledon’s centre court since his 2013 loss against Murray. It puts an end to his bid to win all four Grand Slams this year, having already claimed the Australian and French Opens.

Djokovic’s loss to Alcaraz did feel like a symbolic handing over of the torch. However, with 23 Grand Slams under his belt and likely one or two more to come, he isn’t done yet and has made it clear he has no intentions of retiring any time soon.

Wimbledon Women's Semi Final 2022

Vondrousova makes history

It wasn’t just Alcaraz making headlines at Wimbledon this weekend. Vondrousova stunned the tennis world as she became the first unseeded player ever to win the women’s singles title.

The Czech was taking part in her second Grand Slam final and she comfortably beat last year’s runner-up Jabeur in straight sets to put an injury-hit year behind her.

Vondrousova had never previously reached the fourth round at Wimbledon but she swept all before her at SW19, including triumph over fourth-ranked Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals.

Jabeur was bidding to go one better after losing in last year’s final to Elena Rybakina, who she dispatched in this year’s quarter-final. But the nerves seemed to get the better of the Tunisian, who has now lost all three of her major finals.

World No.1 Iga Świątek disappointingly bowed out in the quarter-finals to Elina Svitolina. Meanwhile, British hopes Katie Boulter and Jodie Anna Burrage lost in the early rounds.

End of an era

While Djokovic is showing no signs of slowing down, Alcaraz’s brilliance signalled that a changing of the guard is underway in world tennis. This year’s Wimbledon Championships was the first since 1997 that did not feature either Roger Federer or Serena Williams.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal’s plan to retire next year coupled with Murray’s injury setbacks leaves Djokovic as the only remaining member of the ‘big four’ still at the top of their game.

A few years ago, tennis fans would have been forgiven for harbouring concerns that the sport wouldn’t quite be as good without the likes of Federer and Djokovic battling it out for titles.

However, over the past few weeks, Alcaraz has shown that the future is bright and tennis is in good hands for the next generation.

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