Carlos Alcaraz cramping against Novak Djokovic labelled ‘unacceptable’ by legend

Carlos Alcaraz Roland Garros

Tennis great Jimmy Connors believes it is “unacceptable” that Carlos Alcaraz suffered with cramping in his recent French Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic. 

The eight-time Grand Slam champion also declared he hopes Djokovic’s success continues for the rest of the 2023 season.

Alcaraz fell 3-6, 7-5, 1-6, 1-6 to the 36-year-old in the last four at Roland Garros earlier this month. The Serb defeated Casper Ruud in the final to win a record 23rd men’s major singles crown.

The 20-year-old revealed he began suffering with cramp at the end of the second set. The issue got much worse early in the third set and hampered him for remainder of the match.

The Spaniard admitted the tension he felt during the first two sets and the fact he was facing Djokovic likely contributed to the cramping.

On an episode of the Advantage Connors podcast, former world No 1 Connors was critical of the fact the US Open champion succumbed physically.

“Alcaraz – everybody thought that he had come of age and he has come of age. He’s 19-20 years old and he’s won a Grand Slam already,” said the American.

“But there’s guys out there, such as Djokovic – who is not willing to just roll over and say, ‘Okay you can have it now.’ He’s going to have to earn it. Djokovic is in great shape and he proved that.

“Alcaraz was cramping after the second set. To me, that is kind of unacceptable. I don’t know if that’s on his team or nerves got into it or what, but cramping in the third set?

“I know Djokovic puts a lot of pressure on you and all that, but you got to be ready to play five sets. Especially in the French [Open] against a guy like Djokovic.

“It was a big match, he’s playing Djokovic in the semis of the French, he’s the favourite. He won the US Open. It was a great opportunity for him to win a Grand Slam beating Djokovic, or Nadal or Federer – which is a big deal. I wonder if nerves didn’t play a part in that, because it can, it can drain you.”

Connors also revealed he was pleased Djokovic won the title after the off-court challenges he has faced in recent years.

“Well deserved. I like watching that because of everything he’s been through over the last couple years. Staying with his beliefs. Well deserved and I hope it continues for the rest of the year,” Connors added.

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