Wimbledon: Tennis New Face, Carlos Alcarez ?


For years, tennis’ so-called ‘Next Gen’ stars have tried and largely failed to topple the sport’s ‘Big Three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka winning consecutive grand slams – Wimbledon then the US Open – in 2016 and Carlos Alcaraz’s 2022 US Open victory, only Daniil Medvedev won a grand slam title, the 2021 US Open, in which one of the ‘Big Three’ was beaten during the tournament.

Many of the players once tipped to take over the mantle of being one of tennis’ leading men came and went, while others are still knocking on the door.

But in much the same way that Federer’s fourth-round Wimbledon win over Pete Sampras in 2001 signaled the passing of the torch to a new era, so too Carlos Alcaraz’s victory over Djokovic in Sunday’s final could finally herald the next generation’s coming of age.

And a decade on from his last defeat on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, Djokovic having his aura of invincibility shattered could also help tennis’ young stars emerge, Alcaraz said.

“I did it for myself, not for [the next] tennis generation, honestly,” Alcaraz told reporters after the final. “It was great. Beating Novak at his best, in this stage, making history, being the guy to beat him after 10 years unbeaten on that court, is amazing for me.

“It’s something that I will never forget, that’s for sure. It’s great for the new generation as well, I think to see me beating him and making them think that they are capable of doing it. It’s great for me and I think for the young players as well.”

Not that Djokovic is likely to go anywhere anytime soon.

While Alcaraz was a deserving winner on the day, Djokovic has proven over the last two weeks that he is still capable of playing some of the best tennis of his career – and this at the age of 36.

As the Serb said following his victory in the semifinals: “36 is the new 26” and Djokovic certainly appears to have enough left in the tank to win multiple grand slam titles.

Now, however, there is finally a player that looks capable of stopping him that isn’t named Federer or Nadal.

But Alcaraz isn’t so sure that tennis’ changing of the guard has finally happened.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” he told CNN on Monday. “I hope the people say that, but Djokovic is still there. Rafa as well.

“Let’s talk about it in some years ahead. In the future we can talk about it, but right now, it’s not the right moment.”

Author:  Matias Grez, CNN


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