Carlos Alcaraz renews Novak Djokovic rivalry in Cincinnati

Carlos Alcaraz Novak Djokovic Wimbledon

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz (L) holds the winner’s trophy as he poses with Serbia’s Novak Djokovic holding the runner-up’s one after their men’s singles final tennis match on the last day of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 16, 2023. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

Carlos Alcaraz has put his quarterfinal loss at the Toronto Masters behind him as he prepares to renew his rivalry with Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati next week.

The Spanish world number one made a surprisingly early exit in Canada, bundled out of the last eight by Tommy Paul in three sets to end a lackluster campaign.

But the 20-year-old was in no mood to dwell on that loss on Sunday as he looked ahead to the Cincinnati Masters, the last warm-up before he launches the defense of his US Open crown later this month.

This week’s tournament in the Midwest carries added intrigue with a field that contains 23-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic.

The pair last met in the Wimbledon final, with the Spaniard prevailing in a five-set classic. Djokovic has not played since that defeat a month ago, and Alcaraz can’t wait to lock horns with the Serb once again.

“I like those battles. I like to know that I can lose, and I can recover it at the same time,” Alcaraz said on Sunday.

“You must enjoy (it) when the battle is against one of the legends from our sport, against Novak.

“I feel I’m (the) main opponent; for me, it’s something crazy, and I’m trying to enjoy.”

Carlos Alcaraz Wimbledon tennis Grand Slam

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 12, 2023 Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after winning his quarterfinal match against Denmark’s Holger Rune REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Alcaraz got caught out on Friday in Toronto as he lost to American Paul. But the bitter taste did not linger long.

“The main goal is to stay in the top spot,” Alcaraz said. “And if I lose it, try to recover it as fast as I can.”

He added that his recent Canadian setback should remain a distant – if unpleasant – memory.

“It wasn’t a good week for me, (there are) a lot of things to improve coming into this tournament.

“Last year, I lost (Montreal first round) and then (Cincinnati quarters) – and then I won the US Open.

“I have to overcome that week that I had in Toronto, try to play better here and try to do better the things that I did bad in Toronto.”


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