Novak Djokovic’s warning to world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz: ‘Everyone wants to dethrone you’
Novak Djokovic knows a thing or two about being chased when you are dominating the sport and he believes Carlos Alcaraz will face different challenges next season now that he is leading the pack.
Alcaraz won his maiden Grand Slam, the US Open in September, and also became world No 1 for the first time after defeating Casper Ruud in the final in New York.
His surge to the top came on the back of a brilliant year as he won two ATP Masters 1000 events (Miami Open and Madrid Open) and also collected ATP 500 trophies in Rio and Barcelona.
However, he has not really hit top form since his success at Flushing Meadows as he lost in the first round in Astana (his first ATP event after becoming world No 1) and in the semi-final of the Swiss Indoors.
Djokovic, who has been at the top of the game for more than a decade having won 21 Grand Slams and spent a record 373 weeks at the top of ATP Rankings, says Alcaraz will face a different kind of pressure as everyone wants to beat him.
“When you are the one who is chasing, you have less pressure,” he is quoted as saying by Eurosport. “When they are chasing you, when everyone wants to be where you are, things change mentally.”
He added: “He has had an amazing year. He deserves to be in that position for the results he has had.
“In the end, results are the best yardstick for ranking. He has won a Grand Slam and has played consistently well.
“Although he is only 19 years old, he plays with a lot of maturity, with a lot of energy.”
The teenager, though, does have one advantage as he has former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero as his coach and Djokovic believes “this is just the beginning” for the Spaniard.
“He also has a great coach, someone who has been in his shoes, former No 1 Ferrero. It is a perfect combination,” he said.
“Ferrero knows exactly what you are going through, how to help you mentally withstand the pressure of being No 1 and everyone wanting to dethrone you. This is just the beginning for him, but he is hungry for success.”
Djokovic and Alcaraz are both in action at the Paris Masters this week with the former set to take on Karen Khachanov in the third round on Thursday while Alcaraz faces Grigor Dimitrov.
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