Djokovic and Alcaraz split ahead of US Open as Serb benefits from rare feat

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz can’t be separated going into the US Open as they are on course for a showdown in the final. Feliciano Lopez named both men his top picks for the title as they go into the tournament with a 2-2 head-to-head record. The retired Spanish player also explained that Djokovic was the only player who could go into the tournament with few matches and still be ready to lift the trophy.

Djokovic recently got revenge over Alcaraz after losing to the 20-year-old in last month’s Wimbledon final. The Serb came from a set-and-a-break down to defeat him in a near-four-hour final in Cincinnati – his only tournament before the US Open.

It means that the world No 2 has played just five matches between the final two Majors of the year, with one of them ending in his opponent’s retirement. But Lopez believes that won’t be a problem in Flushing Meadows, claiming Djokovic is the only player who can bring his best level while being undercooked compared to his rivals.

“From Novak, I’m always expecting for him to perform at his best level because he’s been able to play some of his great tennis without playing a lot of tennis lately,” the former world No 12 said.

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“He’s picking the right tournaments where he thinks he needs to perform well. He’s playing the Slams, he’s playing a few 1000s, but he’s not playing much lately. But he’s good enough to use some of the early matches to get to his best level.”

The 41-year-old expected Djokovic to find his best level by the second week as he continued: “So whenever he finds himself in the quarter-finals or maybe fourth round, quarter-finals, he’s already playing some of his best tennis.

“So he’s probably the only one now in the game with this ability to play very few tournaments during the year. He’s probably the player who is playing less now, but he’s still able to perform great when when he needs to perform.”

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US Open tennis makes its long-awaited return to Sky Sports and it’s certainly not something to be missed.

Sky Sports subscribers on Sky Glass, Sky Stream, Sky Q, and the Sky Sports app will be able to watch all courts for the first time on Sky Sports.

Want to watch the US Open Tennis but don’t own Sky?

Never fear as you can get Sky Glass, Sky TV, Netflix for £14 a month for six months – thanks to a limited time deal.

You can also get six months Sky Sports completely free.

But he was still split between Djokovic and Alcaraz when it came to the title. “So I still consider Novak and Carlos my top picks for the Open,” Lopez added. Djokovic is returning to the US Open for the first time since 2021 after Covid vaccine travel restrictions stopped him from competing in the States.

It means that the world No 2 wasn’t in New York last year when Alcaraz lifted his first Grand Slam title. Djokovic has three US Open trophies to his name but hasn’t won the tournament since 2018, falling in the final to Daniil Medvedev last time he played.

The US Open returns exclusively to Sky Sports and NOW with feeds to all courts from 28th August.

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