Carlos Alcaraz’s coach makes admission about watching ‘outrageous’ Novak Djokovic

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic pleased with himself
Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after he won the men's single match

Carlos Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero has admitted watching Novak Djokovic play makes him “drool” and described the Serbian’s quality as “outrageous.”

The former world No 1 described Djokovic’s handling of “the hot moments” during matches as “unique” and hailed him for achieving “almost excellence” by not missing two balls in a row.

Djokovic secured a record-extending eighth ATP year-end world No 1 finish en route to claiming a record seventh ATP Finals title in Turin earlier this month.

The 36-year-old crushed Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-finals at the season-ending championships, before earning a convincing 6-3, 6-3 final triumph over Jannik Sinner.

The Serbian won seven titles in 2023, including three of the four Grand Slam tournaments, with his only defeat at a Major coming against Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

The world No 1 won his other three encounters with the 20-year-old Spaniard this year to take the overall head-to-head score to 3-2 in his favour.

READ MORE: Boris Becker analyses why Carlos Alcaraz suffered dip in form after Wimbledon triumph

In an interview with El Larguero, Ferrero lauded Djokovic and highlighted some of the qualities which stand out from watching him in action.

“I’m running out of praise. I drool watching him when he plays, how he touches the ball, how he moves. When he’s mentally fine, and he doesn’t get distracted by certain things, it’s outrageous,” the Spaniard said.

“How he handles the times and how he handles the hot moments of the game is unique. It has an impressive quality, while putting pressure on you absolutely at all points.

“There is not once that you see him miss two balls in a row throughout the game, not once and, in that aspect, he achieves almost excellence. That tells you how good he wants to be and how good he is.”

Ferrero declared that the 24-time Grand Slam champion, who he considers the greatest player of all time, is the perfect example for his pupil Alcaraz to try to emulate.

“We have to follow that trail. Beyond the numbers, for me it’s the best, but it’s complicated,” the 2003 French Open champion explained.

“Without a doubt. You may like Roger Federer more for his way of playing or Rafael Nadal for his dedication and everything that each one has achieved. His merits are undeniable, but for me Novak is the best in history.”

The 16-time ATP titlist, who retired in 2012, also recognised that improving on fast, indoor hard-courts will take time for Alcaraz.

“Having the level of it on this surface, I think it requires time and many hours on this type of tracks. Obviously, it’s not an excuse, but I think that the fast track hasn’t benefited us,” the 43-year-old admitted.

“I suppose that in that aspect you have to spend more hours, train more in this type of situation, and I think that the mental level has made the tennis level not there. He has had two mistakes again, for which the game is going away.

“I think that in that aspect you have to be more constant. He knows that he has to improve for the future, especially to play with the best.”

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic’s former coach predicts how long the Serbian can remain at the top level