Novak Djokovic recently complimented Carlos Alcaraz and compared his intensity to that of Rafael Nadal. The Serbian star made the comments in the press conference after his quarterfinal match at the 2023 French Open.
Djokovic is set to face either Carlos Alcaraz or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals of the 2023 French Open. In his own quarterfinal, the World No. 3 defeated Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday.
When asked what the 20-year-old Alcaraz has brought to tennis, Djokovic drew parallels between him and his compatriot Rafael Nadal.
"Well, he carries himself very well. No doubt very nice guy on and off the court. Brings a lot of intensity on the court. Reminds me of someone from his country that plays with a left hand (smiling)," Djokovic said.
"He deserves his success, no doubt. He's working hard, and he very complete player already and only age 20 — 19, 20?" he added.
The World No. 3 was also asked how much he relishes the potential duel with Alcaraz. The two haven't played each other for more than a year, since Djokovic lost to the Spaniard at the 2022 Madrid Masters.
"So we played only once in Madrid last year, 7-6 in the third for him. We haven't played since. Yeah, you're right, most of the tournaments this year we were not in the same draw, but here we are," Djokovic said.
Many were expecting Djokovic and Alcaraz to meet in the final after Nadal announced his withdrawal. But Daniil Medvedev ruined those expectations by winning the 2023 Italian Open and becoming the second seed.
"If it comes to that match, that's the match that, you know, a lot of people want to see. It's definitely the biggest challenge for me, you know, so far in the tournament. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. He's definitely a guy to beat here. I'm looking forward to that," Djokovic said of the possible semifinal at French Open 2023.
The Djokovic-Alcaraz spectacle is not yet confirmed, as the Spaniard has to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals on June 6 first. And Djokovic made it a point to mention that.
"But, he has to win against Tsitsipas, let's not forget about that," he said. "We cannot disrespect Stefanos who has played finals here and is top, top player for many years. So let's see what happens tonight."
Novak Djokovic describes the turning point of his French Open 2023 quarterfinal match against Karen Khachanov
Novak Djokovic defeated Karen Khachanov for the ninth time in his career, this time in the quarterfinals of the 2023 French Open, 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-4.
After losing the first set, the Serb played a perfect tie-break in the second. He didn't make any unforced errors and in fact didn't lose a single point.
"Yeah, it was probably the turning point of the match. Winning the second set or, you know, losing the second set would be quite a big difference," Novak Djokovic said in the post-match press conference.
Djokovic has qualified for his 12th semifinal at the French Open. He now has two matches to win if he wants to claim a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title, which would be his third at Roland Garros.