Carlos Alcaraz is just what Novak Djokovic needed says former British No 1

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic during a match

Novak Djokovic may have been expecting to dominate men’s tennis once Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal stepped out of the spotlight, yer former British No 1 Laura Robson believes the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz is just what he needed to drive him on to more glory.

Djokovic has been dethroned as world No 1 and also lost his long unbeaten record at Wimbledon in an epic final against Alcaraz last month.

That result inspired many to conclude Djokovic’s reign as the king of the sport was over, with 20-year-old Alcaraz leading the charge of the next generation of champions which could also include Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune.

Yet Robson has told Tennis365 that Djokovic should not be written off, as she suggested the 23-time Grand Slam legend will be motivated to snap back and reclaim his place at the top of the game.

“You don’t want to give Djokovic any added motivation and that’s what Alcaraz will have done,” Robson told Tennis365 at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event.

“He will be trying to figure out how to adjust his game against Alcaraz. They are both going to have to do that now they have figured out the game styles a bit more.

“You see the difference in the matches when they played at Paris and then at Wimbledon and it’s going to be different again when they play on a hard court.

“It’s going to be exciting. I hope it’s going to become a rivalry for the ages. Fingers crossed Djokovic carries on for long enough for that to happen.”

Robson went on to suggest Djokovic will relish the chance to rise to the challenge presented by Alcaraz, who has beaten him twice in the first three meetings of what could be a compelling new rivalry in the sport.

“You think of the rivalries we have been so lucky to have; Rafa wouldn’t be Rafa without Federer and Djokovic,” added Robson.

“So for Alcaraz to be pushing Djokovic is great and it feels like he is going to be able to find a couple of extra gears if needed.

“Then you drive everyone else along with you. The younger guys like Rune and Sinner, it will force them to up their games as well.”

Djokovic spoke about his rivalry with Alcaraz as he returned to America for the first time since 2021 to compete in this week’s Cincinnati Masters.

“It’s not the first or the last match that I lost, so I was over it in a day,” he said as he reflected on his Wimbledon final defeat.

“Obviously, I needed some really good rest after that, and some time with my family, and that’s what I did. Of course, I was regretting not using the chances during that final.

“I was a set up and had some set points in the second, and I felt that I was close to being in the lead. And then, obviously, some break points in the fifth.

“It was a close match, but well deserved from his side, because to win he played better in the important moments, and that’s what I said after the final. I think he was a deserved winner and that’s it really, pretty much. You move on.

“I need to obviously move on and try to regroup and find motivation for what’s coming up, and all the challenges that are ahead of me, and that’s why I’m here.

“Otherwise, if I’m not motivated, I wouldn’t be here. Now, after many years of professional tennis, I feel like I have a choice to play what I really want to play.

“I really wanted to be here in Cincinnati, and of course, the US Open is around the corner.”

Play Your Way to Wimbledon, powered by Vodafone, is the UK’s largest individual mass participation tennis competition and is delivered by Vodafone in partnership with the LTA and The All England Lawn Tennis Club, forming part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to support grassroots tennis in the UK, whilst encouraging more people to pick up a racket.

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