Carlos Alcaraz makes Novak Djokovic confession and explains how he must improve

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz at the net

Carlos Alcaraz admitted he is simply not on the same level as Novak Djokovic on indoor courts after his dismantling at the hands of the great Serb at the 2023 ATP Finals.

The Spaniard also declared he must improve “a lot of things” to match Djokovic’s level, while revealing he will study this match and forget his other contests with the world No 1.

The world No 2 fell to a 3-6, 2-6 defeat to Djokovic in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in Turin on Saturday after a sublime display from his 36-year-old rival.

The 20-year-old made a positive start but was unable to convert two break points at 15-40 in the opening game of the match, before crucially losing his serve in an error-strewn game at 3-4.

Djokovic was imperious thereafter and responded brilliantly to Alcaraz raising his level in the second set to maintain his break advantage, before earning a second break to seal a convincing triumph.

Alcaraz was making his debut at the ATP Finals, having missed the 2022 edition through injury after qualifying. He overcame Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev to make the last four, having lost his opening group stage match to Alexander Zverev.

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Speaking in his post-match press conference, Alcaraz highlighted the challenge of facing Djokovic in that form, while stressing the need to develop his game in indoor conditions.

“Well, he’s really, really tough. He plays the same level during the whole match. The shot quality he has is unbelievable. He plays really, really deep. It’s really difficult to take advantage from that. Once again, he has shown why he’s the best player in the world,” assessed the Spaniard.

“Well, for me it has been difficult to realise the result of the match. It was 15, 20 minutes after the match that I was a little bit down. I feel like I am not in his level in indoor court obviously. I’ve played great matches in Wimbledon, in Cincinnati, in Roland Garros. I felt in that match that I’m in the level.

“Once we step on the court, indoor court, I feel like I have to practise more, I have to be better player. Obviously he has more experience than me playing in these tournaments, in these courts. But he’s unbelievable. It’s not about just serving against him. He has a great return game. Unbelievable, I’m going to say.

“As I said, he push you to a limit in every ball, every shot. Probably I played great points, but it was like one great point, then three, four points just mistakes. First ball went out, something like that. Against a player like Novak, you cannot do that.”

The two-time Grand Slam champion also divulged he will use the defeat in his preparations for the 2024 season, but will not focus on his previous impressive performances against Djokovic.

“Well, this match help me a lot coming into the pre-season. Right now I know all the things I have to improve if I want to be there, if I want to beat the best player in the world,” explained Alcaraz.

“With Juan Carlos, we have to talk about the pre-season, what we have to practice, what we have to do. Obviously I’ll rewatch the match to see my weakness, just to improve it and be a better player.

“I will forget all the matches that I played against him, the Wimbledon final, the Cincinnati, Roland Garros, and I’m going to focus on this match because I felt like I have to improve a lot of things if I want to stay at his level. That’s what I going to think in the pre-season.”

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