Carlos Alcaraz excited by ‘iconic’ potential Italian Open final clash with Novak Djokovic

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic pose

Carlos Alcaraz has revealed he would relish the opportunity to face Novak Djokovic in the final of the 2023 Italian Open.

The 20-year-old described the ATP Masters 1000 event as an “iconic” tournament for Djokovic and recognised facing the Serbian would be a “big challenge.”

The Italian Open is the first tournament of the season to feature both Djokovic and Alcaraz – the two top-ranked ATP players. Alcaraz will replace Djokovic as world No 1 following the event.

The only prior clash between the duo came in the semi-finals of the 2022 Madrid Open, with the Spaniard edging a three-hour-and-36-minute thriller in a third-set tiebreak.

Alcaraz, who is making his Italian Open debut, downed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-1 in his opening match. Six-time champion Djokovic defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry 7-6(5), 6-2 in the second round as he began his title defence.

In an interview with Tennis Channel’s Prakash Amritraj, Alcaraz was asked if he was excited by the prospect of facing Djokovic in a potential final showdown in Rome.

“Yes, of course. It’s always a big challenge to play against Novak but as you said it’s a long run before the final and I hope to play the final here in my first appearance in Rome, would be, could be great. Of course, as you say, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” Alcaraz said.

“Playing against Novak here, it’s such an iconic tournament for him as well. He won a lot of times here, made a lot of finals as well. I know he feels really really comfortable here and he has a lot of chances to make the finals. In my case, I want to work and play my best tennis to make that possible.”

The US Open champion also discussed his win over Ramos-Vinolas and the transition to the Rome conditions after winning the Madrid Open.

“Yeah for me, was a little bit difficult the beginning. I have to adapt my game to the conditions here in Rome, the beginning of every tournament is really tough. Of course, playing with Albert in such tough conditions, really slow, it’s tough,” the Spaniard added.

“But yeah, really happy to get through it, you know, after the first set. Be able to play better, increase my level, was great for me.”

Alcaraz will play either Jiri Lehecka or Fabian Marozsan in the third round in Rome, while Djokovic will take on Grigor Dimitrov.

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