‘Carlos Alcaraz vs Novak Djokovic is not my dream final’, reveals former world No 5

Ewan West
Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic during a match
Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic after a match

Former world No 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has revealed that a final between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic at the 2023 US Open would not be his “dream” match-up.

The Frenchman explained he is an admirer of rising American star Ben Shelton’s game and would rather see the 20-year-old have the chance to go for the title.

Tsonga – who won 18 ATP titles, including two at Masters 1000 level – called an end to an impressive 18-year career after the 2022 French Open.

The 38-year-old reached the final of the 2008 Australian Open as an unseeded player and was beaten by Djokovic as the great Serb claimed his maiden major.

Djokovic will face world No 47 Shelton in the last four at Flushing Meadows on Friday as he bids to reach an Open Era record-extending 10th US Open final.

The American, meanwhile, will be contesting his first career Grand Slam semi-final in just his fifth main draw major appearance.

In an interview with Tennis Actu, Tsonga described why he is a fan of the powerful left-hander and hopes he prevents the final match-up most have predicted.

“It’s not that he impresses me, but I like it a lot. I really like the style, I like the boy who expresses himself, I like his punchy side,” declared the Frenchman.

“I find myself in this young [player] who plays different tennis. My dream is not Alcaraz [against] Djokovic, but that Ben Shelton is in the final and possibly that he goes for a title.”

Following his quarter-final win over compatriot Frances Tiafoe, Shelton discussed the test of facing 23-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic.

“Yeah, definitely a tough challenge. I think that whenever you play somebody for the first time and someone who has been in this situation so many times and come out victorious so many times, that’s in the back of your head,” explained the 20-year-old.

“You just know how, you know, rock solid the guy is and how mentally tough, how physically tough. So that’s definitely something that I have to game-plan for. I also think that, you know, it’s an advantage with my game style playing someone who’s never played me before.

“I think that I can bring some things to the table that maybe you don’t see in your normal match that you play on the ATP Tour. So I’m definitely going to try to bring some things to the table that are different and hopefully disruptive on Friday.”

Defending champion Alcaraz will face Daniil Medvedev in the second men’s semi-final on Friday.

READ MORE: Daniil Medvedev compares facing Carlos Alcaraz to ‘almost impossible’ Rafael Nadal challenge