Carlos Alcaraz’s coach has confessed that his charge has to “mature” after losing to Novak Djokovic on Saturday night. The world No 1 won their ATP Finals semi-final match 6-3 6-2 in their most one-sided meeting yet. And Juan Carlos Ferrero believes that Alcaraz’s “mental level” let him down against Djokovic.
Alcaraz’s 2023 season came to an end at the hands of Djokovic as they renewed their rivalry in Turin. The pair faced off for the fifth time with a spot in the final of the ATP Finals on the line. After some epic past encounters – including two finals at Wimbledon and Cincinnati that went to a final set – Saturday’s match ended up falling flat in comparison as Djokovic took it in just 88 minutes.
It marked the first time in their rivalry that a match ended in straight sets. And Alcaraz’s coach has now explained why the 20-year-old was no match for the world No 1 this time around. “Having Djokovic’s level requires spending many hours playing on this type of court,” Juan Carlos Ferrero said after the match, per Marca.
“It is not an excuse, but the fact that the court is so fast has not benefited us. We had very rarely played in this type of situation against such good people.” As well as Alcaraz’s difficulty playing on a fast indoor court, Ferrero admitted that the world No 2’s mentality meant that he couldn’t find his best tennis.
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The retired Spanish player added: “His mental level has meant that his tennis level was not there. With two mistakes the game is gone.” Ferrero and Alcaraz are already looking to make improvements but to do that, the 43-year-old confessed that his charge needed to mature.
“You have to improve in what it means to be a professional all the time. These are things for a 20-year-old kid and he has to mature,” he explained. “To be a professional you have to control all areas.
“There are the three hours of training on the court and then there is the rest of the day is outside of it. You have to do things when you have to, train when you have to, have fun when you have to and disconnect when you have to.”
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Alcaraz previously faced a tough defeat to Djokovic in the French Open semi-final earlier this year as he started cramping at the start of the third set and fell away as the Serb won 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1. He later admitted that the pressure got to him but he very quickly learned from his mistakes, upsetting Djokovic in the Wimbledon final just a few weeks later.
And the Spaniard is now hoping to do the same after another disappointing loss to the 36-year-old. Ferrero continued: “Carlos is critical and has already said that it will serve him well in the future. The defeats that hurt serve him and sting him, like the one at Roland Garros that served him well for Wimbledon.”
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