‘My happiest moment’ | Sunday Observer

‘My happiest moment’

23 July, 2023
Carlos Alcaraz: New kid on the block
Carlos Alcaraz: New kid on the block

Carlos Alcaraz said his epic victory in the Wimbledon singles final is the “happiest moment” of his life.

The 20-year-old Spaniard beat seven-time champion Novak Djokovic 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 on Centre Court.

It earned him a first Wimbledon crown and denied Djokovic an eighth title and 24th Grand Slam - both of which would have been record-equalling feats.

“Beating Novak, winning Wimbledon, is something that I dreamed about since I started playing tennis,” Alcaraz said.

“It’s the happiest moment of my life. I think it’s not going to change for a long time.”

US Open champion Alcaraz has emerged as the player most likely to take on the men’s game after the careers of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

He is an engaging character off the court, usually smiling through interviews, but has a fearsome game on the court that has taken him to the top of the world rankings.

His first words in his news conference after the biggest win of his career were to apologise, after he arrived 20 minutes late - all while wearing a bucket hat.

“It’s a dream come true for me, being a Wimbledon champion, something that I really wanted,” Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam at the US Open last year and became the youngest world number one in history in November.

Before this year he had won only four professional matches on grass. He secured his first title on the surface at Queen’s last month before his run at Wimbledon.

“I fall in love with grass right now,” Alcaraz said.

“I have played just four tournaments on grass. I won Queen’s. I didn’t expect to play at this level in a really short period.”

Alcaraz’s win ended Djokovic’s 10-year unbeaten run on Centre Court. The Serb had also won the past four titles at Wimbledon. Alcaraz is the first new male multiple Grand Slam winner since Stan Wawrinka in 2015. He is also the first man other than Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Andy Murray to win Wimbledon since 2002.

Todd Woodbridge, who won nine men’s doubles titles and one mixed doubles title at Wimbledon, described Alcaraz’s win as a “changing of the guard”.

“The new generation is here,” he said. “A marvellous champion.”

The crowd favoured Alcaraz for much of the match, cheering him on after he lost the first set in 34 minutes.

Djokovic, meanwhile, was booed for smashing his racket on the net post and jeered after taking time between serves.

“It’s interesting when Novak gets angry at the crowd out there to create the tension he needs to play to the levels he does sometimes,” Woodbridge said.

“Carlos likes it too, but he kills them with kindness.

“Tennis is really lucky - we have had some amazing champions.

“Djokovic is included in that, but when you have had Roger and Rafa, who, as sportsmen, are a gift to your sport, this young man is also a gift to our sport with the attitude he brings, the competitive spirt and the sportsmanship, the smile.”