After being crowned King of Wimbledon, Carlos Alcaraz dropped onto the sacred turf. He then accepted Novak Djokovic’s congratulations before, completely uninhibited, he kicked a tennis ball into the audience and fell on his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero’s neck in the stands. In an epic and high-class final on Sunday in London, Alcaraz beat Djokovic 1: 6, 7: 6 (8: 6), 6: 1, 3: 6, 6: 4 and won the grass classic at Wimbledon for the first time . He prevented the Serb’s eighth triumph at Wimbledon. With his triumph, Alcaraz also defended first place in the world rankings.
Djokovic would have caught up with record winner Roger Federer with a win in London. In addition, with his 24th success in one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, he would have set the record of the Australian Margaret Court. But nothing came of it. Alcaraz converted his first match point after 4:42 hours and was crowned king of Wimbledon. He also took revenge for his semi-final defeat at the French Open.
“A dream is coming true for me,” said an overwhelmed Alcaraz after accepting the Challenge Cup from Princess Kate. “I’m really very proud of myself and my team and all the hard work we put in to experience these moments,” said Alcaraz. The Spanish King Felipe VI applauded in the stands. “I played in front of you twice. I won both times. I hope you come more often,” said Alcaraz, causing laughter among the spectators.
Djokovic showed himself to be a fair loser. “I lost to a better player today,” said the Serb. “It’s amazing what quality you showed at the end of the match. You absolutely deserve this win,” said Djokovic. When he saw his son in the stands, the Serb cried. “I love you and I’ll give you a big hug afterwards.”
For Djokovic it was the first defeat at Wimbledon after 34 wins in a row. The 36-year-old Serb had recently won the grass classic four times in a row. Before losing to Alcaraz, Djokovic had last lost in the quarter-finals in London in 2017 when he had to retire against Czech Tomas Berdych injured at the beginning of the second set.
Marketa Vondrousova surprisingly won the women’s title on Saturday. The 24-year-old Czech won the final against the Tunisian Ons Jabeur 6: 4, 6: 4 and, according to the organizers, was the first unseeded player to win the Wimbledon title. It was Vondrousova’s first victory in a Grand Slam tournament. Jabeur (28), on the other hand, lost in the final like last year and cried bitter tears afterwards.
The duel Djokovic against Alcaraz had been waiting for every two weeks in Wimbledon. And it kept what it promised. Djokovic’s first service game lasted seven minutes. But after that, Alcaraz initially seemed a bit lost on the most prestigious tennis court in the world. Djokovic got the first set after just 34 minutes.
Alcaraz then sat on his chair and looked around in disbelief. This was not how he had imagined his first final on the holy turf. But Alcaraz shook himself and now increased. This is how the match finally developed that everyone had been looking forward to. Now the duel of the generations lived up to expectations.
Djokovic tried everything, but Alcaraz couldn’t be shaken off. On the contrary. At the end of the second set, something happened that hardly anyone would have thought possible: Djokovic lost a tiebreak in a Grand Slam tournament. He had previously won 15 tie-breaks in a row in Melbourne, Paris and Wimbledon, proving his inimitable nerves of steel.
But this time Alcaraz fended off a set ball and won the tie break 8:6. After 1:59 hours of play, he equalized the set with a fantastic return winner. The jubilation on Center Court was as great as if England had just won the World Cup for the first time since 1966.
Now Alcaraz played like he was intoxicated. If he was still plagued by cramps from the third set in the semifinals of the French Open, he was now fully there. The world number one managed a quick break. And then came the fifth game in the third set. This service game by Djokovic alone lasted 26 minutes – as long as a whole set on grass. It was a debut 13 times before Alcaraz used his seventh break ball and pulled away 4-1. A little later he took the lead with 2:1 sets.
Djokovic left the court for a toilet break and to collect himself. And indeed the Serb fought his way back into the game. He made the break at 3:2 and another at 6:3. So the decision had to be made in the fifth set.
And there, too, the two tennis titans gave nothing. Almost every point was hard fought, one spectacular rally followed the next. It was a magic moment in tennis that Alcaraz and Djokovic offered to around 15,000 spectators on the sold-out Center Court. Alcaraz made the decisive break in the fifth set to make it 2-1, Djokovic then hammered his racket against the net post in frustration and received a warning. But nothing helped. On that day, Alcaraz was just too strong even for Djokovic.