Djokovic outlined the difference between Nadal and Alcaraz after beating the latter at the ATP Finals

Djokovic outlined the difference between Nadal and Alcaraz after beating the latter at the ATP Finals

Most fans may have been expecting a close three-set battle between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in Turin on Saturday. Instead, they got to witness a standout performance from the Serb, who himself described his 6-3, 6-2 win over his young rival as “one of the best matches of the year in these circumstances playing probably the biggest rival I had this year”.

After improving his record to three wins in five matches over Alcaraz, the Serb dismissed suggestions that the 20-year-old is similar to his more illustrious countryman, Rafael Nadal, whom Djokovic has described as his greatest rival. However, Djokovic did add that Alcaraz does bring out the best in him and forces him to prepare for their clashes in the same way that Nadal and Roger Federer have done in the past.

“They are different players. In terms of the maybe great occasion and the feeling of the intensity on the court that he brings, there is some similarity. But he’s a completely different player from Rafa,” the 36-year-old said. “He’s one of the most complete players that I ever faced in my career. It’s quite impressive for his age that he’s able to play consistently well for several years already, and he’s the youngest-ever No. 1 in the world that we had. A brilliant career already, and I think it’s quite obvious that he’s going to have a brilliant career full of success in the years to come. He’s still very, very young. But, he does bring the best out of me. He makes me prepare for the match as best as I possibly can. That’s where I probably would compare it to the preparations that I had in the matches against Nadal or Federer, where I had to come out every single time at the peak of my abilities in order to win against them.”

Djokovic will be gunning for his seventh ATP Finals title on Sunday when he takes on Italy’s Jannik Sinner in the final match of what has been an almost impeccable season for the Serb.

“I guess last year’s circumstances I used as a fuel for this year. Had an almost perfect season, Grand Slam season. That mattered the most to me. Ended up the year as No. 1 in the world, reached really all the objectives that I had, broke many records, and made the story of the sport. Of course, I’m thrilled with the season. But one more match to go. Hopefully, I can crown the season with another win.”