Carlos Alcaraz says winning Wimbledon marks the happiest moment of his life after ushering in a changing of the guard in men’s tennis by toppling Novak Djokovic in a five-set epic.
The Spaniard, 20, dashed Djokovic’s stranglehold on Wimbledon by ending the Serb’s 10-year winning streak on Centre Court – and says he will always look back on this moment with fondness no matter how many Grand Slams he goes on to win.
‘To make history that I did today is the happiest moment of my life,’ said Alcaraz, also the reigning US Open champion. ‘I think it’s not going to change for a long time.
‘Beating Novak, winning the Wimbledon championship is something that I have dreamt about since I started playing tennis. That’s why it is the biggest moment of my life.’
Alcaraz, who was cheered on by royalty including Spanish King Felipe and the Prince and Princess of Wales, says he won the title for himself and not for the so-called next generation of tennis after Roger Federer retired, Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Djokovic near the end.
Carlos Alcaraz said after winning Wimbledon was the ‘best moment of his life’
The Spaniard came from a set down to win 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 against Novak Djokovic
‘I did it for myself, not for the next generation,’ he said. ‘It was great. Beating Novak at his best, in this stage, making history, being the guy to beat him after 10 years unbeaten on that court, is amazing for me.
‘It’s something that I will never forget, that’s for sure. It’s great for the new generation, as well, I think to see me beating him and making them think that they are capable of doing it as well.’
Alcaraz and Djokovic met last month in the French Open semi-finals but the Spaniard was weighed down by expectation and wilted under pressure. Some feared a repeat here but the world No 1 says he is a ‘different player’ now to in Paris.
‘I am a totally different player than the French Open,’ he said. ‘I have grown up a lot since that moment. I learned a lot from that moment.
‘I prepared a little bit differently mentally before the match so I could deal with the pressure, the nerves, better than I did in the French Open. I didn’t get down, didn’t give up (when going a set down). I think it was the mental part that allowed me to stay there during the five sets.’
Alcaraz’s win dashed Djokovic’s hopes of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim the Calendar Grand Slam – winning all four majors in a year – and Laver himself said: ‘Congratulations on your first Wimbledon crown Carlos.
‘An astonishing achievement against one of the greatest champions ever. I’m sure there will be many more magnificent battles between you two.’
The pair are likely to be seeded first and second again at the US Open in September and Alcaraz added: ‘I think I’ve shown I’m able to face him in the biggest stages after epic matches. I think I’m ready to move forward and be the big rival of Novak.’
Djokovic was visibly emotional after the loss but remained gracious as he spoke to the press.
‘Praise to Carlos and his team, what quality,’ he said, ‘when you had to serve big out you came up with some big serves and big play so you deserve it, congratulations.’
The Serb gave a tearful interview after the loss and thanked his son for his support
‘I thought I would have trouble with you on clay and hard court but not on grass, but maybe now it’s a different story.
‘Amazing way to adapt to the surface, you played maybe one or two times on grass before this year’s Wimbledon, and what you did in Queens, amazing. Congratulations to your team.’
He also touched on his young family in the crowd but had to stop and compose himself as he added: ‘It’s nice to see my son, still there, still smiling. I love you, thank you for supporting me, I’ll give you a big hug and we can all love each other.’
On the nature of his defeat Djokovic added: ‘You never like to lose matches like this but when the emotions are settled, I have to be thankful, I won some close finals that maybe I should have lost like against Federer in 2019, so this is even-Stevens!’