Novak Djokovic: Hopefully I’ll play Carlos Alcaraz as many times as I played Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray
Novak Djokovic wants to play as many matches against Carlos Alcaraz as he did against the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
Speaking recently to Sky Sports during his stint at the Ryder Cup All-Star game, the 24-time Grand Slam champion opened up on his rivalry with Alcaraz.
On one hand, the Serb reckons it will be good for the sport to have more interesting rivalries. On the other hand, Djokovic also has a selfish reason for that wish -- it will mean he will be continuing to play for many more years to come.
“I think it’s great for our sport there are more rivalries happening but obviously rivalries with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal particularly and also with Andy Murray are right up there for me.
"Carlos, I have just played him 3-4 times. Hopefully I’ll play him as many times as I played the other guys and that will mean I’ll be playing for years to come. I doubt that, let’s see how it goes," Novak Djokovic said.
Djokovic and Federer faced off 50 times on the ATP tour before the Swiss maestro's retirement last year, with the former leading 27-23. Against Nadal, the World No. 1 has a close 30-29 lead in the head-to-head, while he is 25-11 against two-time Olympic gold medalist Murray.
Against Alcaraz, meanwhile, the 36-year-old has a 2-2 head-to-head record. Their first clash at the Madrid Masters last year went in favor of the Spaniard, following which Djokovic won their encounter in the 2023 French Open semifinals.
Carlos Alcaraz then responded by exacting revenge against him in the Wimbledon final, with the Serb then drawing level in the final of the Cincinnati Masters in just a few days' time.
Recalling their matches in the last couple of years, the reigning US Open champion said:
“I think tennis, definitely the future is looking good with Carlos leading that field. We had some thrilling encounters, this year particularly with the final at Wimbledon and also Roland Garros and Cincinnati - that was one of the best three-set matches I’ve ever played."
Novak Djokovic: "This year, I couldn't ask for more"
Barring his defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic was unbeaten at all the other three Grand Slams in 2023. Starting the year with 21 Major titles, the Serb finished with 24 and became the first player in the Open Era, male or female, to reach that tally.
Djokovic admitted that this has been a fantastic year for him, especially in Grand Slams, stating that he couldn't have asked for more when he began his season.
"I’ve had a fantastic year. Grand Slams are the ones that count the most for me at this point of my career, they’re the ones where I want to play my best tennis and this year, three out of four Slams and another final, I couldn’t ask for more," Djokovic said.