Home News French Open 2023: Carlos Alcaraz says stress caused cramping in Novak Djokovic defeat

French Open 2023: Carlos Alcaraz says stress caused cramping in Novak Djokovic defeat

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French Open 2023: Carlos Alcaraz

In a highly anticipated match at the French Open 2023, Carlos Alcaraz faced off against the 22-time major champion Novak Djokovic for the first time in a Grand Slam tournament. The event took place at Roland Garros in Paris from 28th May to 11th June. The match received coverage through live text and radio commentaries on selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, the Sport News Center website, and app.

Carlos Alcaraz, the current world number one, revealed that the stress of playing against the legendary Novak Djokovic caused him to experience full-body cramps, ultimately thwarting his chances of victory in their French Open semi-final clash. The 20-year-old Spaniard began experiencing cramps early in the third set, leading to Djokovic’s eventual win with a scoreline of 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

Acknowledging Djokovic’s stature in the sport, Alcaraz commented, “It is not easy to play against Novak; he is a legend of our sport. It has been really tough for me. I have never felt tension like I did in that match.” This encounter marked only the second time Alcaraz had faced Djokovic and their first meeting at one of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

Alcaraz added, “If someone says he goes onto the court with no nerves playing against Novak, he lies,” emphasizing the intense pressure he felt during the match. He admitted that the tension surrounding the game contributed to his cramping, stating, “The tension of the match was why the cramping happened. I started the match really nervous.”

Djokovic, who could potentially replace Alcaraz as the new world number one if he defeats Casper Ruud in the final, empathized with Alcaraz’s experience, recalling his own encounters with similar challenges when he was younger. He noted, “It is part of the learning curve. It is part of the experience. He’s only 20, he’s got plenty of time. He has shown so much maturity in the last couple of years. His career will be very successful if he manages to keep healthy because the game is there.”

Despite his physical struggles, Alcaraz, who clinched his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, demonstrated determination and resilience. This semi-final marked only his second appearance at this stage of a major tournament, while Djokovic was competing in his 45th. Alcaraz improved his performance in the match, even though the cramps had already begun, and showed no intention of quitting.

Throughout the match, Alcaraz received on-court treatment twice and took a bathroom break at the end of the third set. Reflecting on his decision not to retire, Alcaraz stated, “I would have felt sorry about myself if I retired. I’m in a semi-final of a Grand Slam. If I retired from that, it could have been really tough for me.” He acknowledged that his chances of a comeback were slim but remained focused on playing, saying, “In the fourth set, I had break points in the first game, and after that, I just continued playing. I was not thinking about retirement.”

For live scores, results, and the order of play, tennis enthusiasts can access alerts and news updates through the designated app or receive them on their mobile phones.

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