Carlos Alcaraz stars in a resounding defeat against Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals 2023. Sincere as always, the Spaniard confesses in a press conference how he has felt, what his weak points have been and what he will do in this preseason to work on it for the next year.
– The lesson that the game leaves him
“He is very, very tough. He plays at the same level throughout the entire game. The quality of his shots is incredible, he plays really deep. It’s very difficult to take advantage of that. He has shown again why he is the best player in the world. For me, it has been difficult to be aware of the result of the match. 15 or 20 minutes after the start I felt a little down. I feel like I’m not at his level indoors. I have played great matches at Wimbledon, Cincinnati and Roland Garros. In those games I felt that he was at the level.
Once we hit the court, a deck, I feel like I have to train more, to be a better player. Obviously, he has more experience than me in these tournaments, on these courts. He is incredible. It’s not just about the serve against him. He has a great rest. He pushes you to the limit on every ball, on every shot. I probably played great points, but it was like one good point of mine and then three or four mistakes. The first ball was out. You can’t do that against Novak,” explains Alcaraz.
– What would have been a possible Plan B?
“I don’t know, honestly. Probably running, passing balls without speed, playing long points. Again, against a player like Novak, it’s not enough. I have to put myself in the situation to attack more, to play more aggressively. If I have errors, it’s the same. Against Novak you have to play at 100%, otherwise you are dead.”
-How much will you think about this match in the coming months?
“This game helps me a lot for the preseason. Right now I know all the things I have to improve if I want to be there, if I want to beat the best player in the world. We have to talk about the preseason with Juan Carlos, we have to train. Obviously, I will watch the game again to see my weakness, to improve as a player. I will forget all the matches I have played against him: the Wimbledon final, Cincinnati, Roland Garros, and I will focus on this match because I feel that I have to improve many things if I want to keep up with him.”
– About racket throwing
“It was an incredible point and I still lost it. I would say I couldn’t have played it better. It’s a bit of frustration for me to have played my best tennis and lost it. Juan Carlos told me to stay mentally strong, but I couldn’t. It’s something I have to improve, for example. Before the game he told me to focus on the first shot. In this game I had 15 errors on the first shot. It has been difficult to handle. In some specific, complicated moments, I served and the error came on the first shot, it was a shame. “It has been very difficult for me to digest.”
– Djokovic, 400 weeks at Number 1
“If I have to think about it, I have to be there for 15 years, it’s incredible. It serves as motivation for me because I want to beat him. I want to be the best in history. I want to train with a goal. I want to beat him, win every tournament I play in. At the same time, I don’t think about it because it’s a really complicated thing. It’s something only a legend could do. It’s incredible what he’s achieving, all the records, winning every tournament he goes to. It is crazy. It’s a mix of motivation and I don’t want to think about it.”