Venus and Serena Williams' former coach Rick Macci recently praised Novak Djokovic on his victory at the 2023 Cincinnati Open.
The Serbian superstar has added another trophy to his collection after defeating Carlos Alcaraz in a thrilling final at the Cincinnati Open. But this was not just any victory. This was a comeback of epic proportions, a remarkable display of mental toughness and physical resilience.
The final was a rematch of the Wimbledon final, where Alcaraz stunned Djokovic in five sets to claim his second Grand Slam title. The Spaniard, who is 16 years younger than Djokovic, seemed to have the upper hand again in Cincinnati, as he took the first set 7-5 and had a match point in the second set tiebreak.
But Djokovic refused to give up, saving the match point with a big forehand and eventually winning the second set 7-6 (9-7).
The third set was a nail-biter, with the two players exchanging breaks and holding their nerves. The set went to another tiebreak, where the Serb finally prevailed 7-6 (7-4).
Serena Williams’ former coach Macci praised the 23-time Grand Slam champion on his win against Alcaraz. On Monday, August 21, Macci called the Serb 'the greatest male player to hold the stick'.
"@DjokerNole showed the world another reason why he the greatest male player to hold the stick. At the end of the day Novak GOATOVIC found a way," he tweeted.
The victory was Djokovic’s third title in Cincinnati, his 95th overall, and his 39th at the Masters 1000 level. It was also his first title on US soil since 2021, as he had been unable to enter the country for the past two years due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.
"These are the kind of moments and matches that I continue to work for, day in, day out" - Novak Djokovic
Following his victory at the Cincinnati Open, Novak Djokovic conceded during his post-match interview that the match was among the most challenging he had ever experienced on the court.
Lasting three hours and 49 minutes, the match set new records in the tournament's history. It is the longest ever match at Cincinnati and the longest Masters 1000 final ever played with a best-of-three-sets format.
“I don’t know what else I can say. Tough to describe," the Serb said. "Definitely one of the toughest matches I’ve ever played in my life – regardless of what tournament, what category, what level, what player. I mean it’s unbelievable -- from the beginning till the end."
The athletes competed in challenging weather conditions, characterized by elevated summer temperatures. Novak Djokovic acknowledged Carlos Alcaraz's unwavering dedication despite the adverse climate circumstances.
"We’ve both been through so much; so many ups and downs, highs and lows, incredible points, poor games. You know, heat strokes!” the 36-year-old said. “Coming back – overall one of the toughest and most exciting matches I was ever part of. These are the kind of moments and matches that I continue to work for, day in, day out.”