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Novak Djokovic has sent Carlos Alcaraz a message after losing his first meeting with the 19-year-old. The world No 1 was leading by a set but was ousted by the Spaniard 6-7(5) 6-4 7-6(5) in a three hour and 35 minute marathon, and he has now tipped Alcaraz for future success.
Alcaraz won his ninth consecutive match when he defeated the world No 1 in three sets in Saturday’s semi-final, becoming the first man in history to beat Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back on clay. Although he was “disappointed”, the Serb sent his conqueror a kind message on Instagram after the match and wished him luck for the final.
“Great things to come from this talent in the future,” the three-time former champion in Madrid wrote, posting a series of photos of his embrace at the net with the seventh seed. “Good luck in the final tomorrow @carlitosalcarazz.” He then shared the photos to his Instagram Story where he wished Alcaraz luck for a second time.
Djokovic had been complimentary of his opponent both before and after the match, admitting the four-time title winner “deserved” to beat him. “Congrats to him. He held his nerve very well. For somebody of his age to play so maturely and courageously is impressive. He deserved to win,” the top seed said following his defeat.
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And the world No 1 was full of praise for Alcaraz before even stepping foot on a match court with the teenager. Ahead of their first meeting, he said: “I must say that in all fronts, on and off the court, he’s great.”
“I love to watch him play, as a lot of other players on the tour. He’s fantastic for our sport, no doubt. I think it’s great that we have a young player who is doing so well and giving a new fresh breath to the tennis world. Seeing that and knowing that he’s a very nice guy, very humble with good values, is a perfect combination.”
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Alcaraz will now face the winner of a clash between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev in the final. The German is the defending champion and has a 2-0 record over the Spaniard but they have not met since Alcaraz started his sensational 2022 season, while Alcaraz has beaten Tsitsipas all three times they have faced off, including twice this year.
Meanwhile, Djokovic will head to Rome where he is the defending runner-up. The world No 1 is the top seed and receives a bye to the second round where he opens against either Lloyd Harris or Aslan Karatsev.
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