Carlos Alcaraz asserted his huge ambition by declaring he wants to be “the best in history” after his crushing defeat to Novak Djokovic at the 2023 ATP Finals.
The 20-year-old explained he is motivated by Djokovic’s “unbelievable” record-breaking exploits, but admitted he also does not want to think about the great Serbian’s achievements.
Djokovic produced a masterclass to dismantle Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in Turin on Saturday to bring the Spaniard’s season to an end after his debut year-end championships appearance.
After losing his opening group stage match to Alexander Zverev in three sets, Alcaraz downed both Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to progress to the last four.
This was by far the most one-sided encounter between the Spanish and Serbian duo, with the head to head level at 2-2 heading into the contest following four tight and enthralling clashes.
Having split the opening two meetings in Madrid last year and at this year’s French Open, Alcaraz prevailed in an epic five-set Wimbledon final in July, before Djokovic edged a thrilling Cincinnati title match in August.
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Speaking in his press conference following his defeat to the 36-year-old, Alcaraz was asked if he was motivated by Djokovic being set to surpass 400 weeks spent as world No 1.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 18, 2023
“Well, honestly, if I have to think about it, I have to stay there about 15 years. So [it] is unbelievable (smiling). Of course, it’s a motivation because I’m an ambitious guy and I want to be the best in history. I want to practise with a goal. I want to beat him. I want to win every tournament that I’m going to play,” said the Spaniard.
“But at the same time, I will not think about it because it’s really, really difficult. It’s something that a legend from our sport couldn’t make it. It’s unbelievable what he’s doing, just breaking records, winning every tournament that he goes. It’s crazy. It’s a mix of motivation and a mix of I don’t want to think about it (smiling).”
The world No 2 also addressed whether he could have tried using an alternative strategy to his aggressive game plan, but suggested he simply needed to execute at the highest level.
“I don’t know, honestly. Probably just run, put balls in with no speed, anything else, just play long rallies. Once again, against a player like Novak, is not enough,” assessed Alcaraz.
“I going to say that I had to put myself in a position that I had to attack more or play more aggressively. If I have mistakes, it’s the same. As I said, against a player like Novak, you have to play your hundred percent, going into the line. If not, you’re dead (smiling).”
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