Novak Djokovic: “Each point is a battle…going for it, brave.”

Novak Djokovic
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

The Cincinnati final was one of the greatest matches of 2023, when Novak Djokovic edged Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4). The Spaniard was so close to win it, but the Serbian rose higher and higher, and while he was struggling early in the becoming in the second set, but right in the end, he put together some incredible shots.

So the the 20-years-old, and he was so close to winning, but he did make a few mistakes, and he lost. Alcaraz has beat him before (in Madrid), and the No. 1 could do it again, but if he manages to play against Djokovic in the U.S. Open final, then he will change a little bit, and to be more patient. However, he is so darn good, then he will go for it, all the time, with his huge forehand and his backhand.

They played for 3 hours and 49 minutes, a record in the ATP 1000. That was tough for both of them.

“Exhausted. No, I feel proud of myself, honestly. I talking and I don’t know why I was crying because I fight until the last ball,” Alcaraz said. “I almost beat one of the greatest of all time from our sport. Well, yeah, today was really, really difficult playing against Novak. I mean, he always put almost five, six, seven balls in every point. So fighting and running from one corner to other one every point is really tough to deal with it almost the whole match.  I try to stay there, to stay good physically, but it was tough. I left everything on court.”

Djokovic has won so many excellent matches, against all comers. He has beaten the fine Grand Slam players, such as Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, or even more. But he actually likes it, on court, a lot, playing great, or mediocre. All of his shots are very good, or tremendous, depending on the day. In Cincinnati, in the final, he was not perfect all the time, but he kept going, with his up and down serve, and his spotty forehand. But it went on for so long, and during the points, then it can change it.  Close to the end, he hit some odd shots, that he missed, but he chunked    again, and he hit some phenomenal shots, crosscourt, and down the lines.

He did say that Alcaraz is very, very good.

“It doesn’t surprise me any more. It was surprising me maybe, I don’t know, end of last year or beginning of this year, what he was doing, the way he won big matches, big tournaments,” Djokovic said. “So impressive.  I mean, coming out in important moments, going for it, brave. You just have to put your hats down to a guy like that, that plays so maturely, handles the pressure so well for a 20-year-old. We cannot forget how young he is. That’s something that is so impressive about him.”

It was, but the Serbian never gave up, at all. Even if he was about to lose, he just thought to focus, and re-think it. He can be slightly ticked off, yet in a few seconds, then Djokovic can chop him down, again.

“When I lost service game, he broke back 5-All, again 15-40, again another two advantages. Mentally this affects you big-time. But I’m very proud of how, after not using all these match points on 5-4, 5-3, all these break points on 5-All, I’m very pleased with the way I served out the next game to get into the tiebreak,” Djokovic said.  “Played a really, really solid tiebreak.  Yeah, just overall an incredible match with some really highs and really lows.”

They might to face each other in the final at the U.S. Open, but to do that, they will have to win six matches. Even if they are the two best players, currently, they never know if another terrific person can play unbelievable and upset them. That is the history at the U.S. Open.

There are other players who can reach into the quarters, other than those to, so in a few days, we will put it up.

The terrific women also had some splendid matches in Ohio, such as the young American  Coco Gauff won the title. She beat the Czech  Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-4 and she looked fatigue, but Gauff has improved her forehand over the past two months, which is why she is plentiful and more consistent. Her backhand is excellent, and also, at the net. She still has to upgrade with her return, but she is coming along. Perhaps she want win the U.S. Open for the first time. She also upset the No. 1 Iga Swiatek  in the semis, so that was critically important. She is trending, with all the parts of her strokes.

“Just embracing it but also just focusing on your linear path. I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is that everybody’s path for you is not what’s true, it’s not what’s going to happen,” Gauff said.  “Even the path that you want for yourself may not happen.  I believe you give it your all. That’s all you can do. I’m going to give it my all in US Open. If things go great, that’s exciting. If not, I go back and work hard and get ready for the next one. That’s kind of the mentality you have to have.”

If  Muchova  can stay healthy and if she does, she can go deep again at the U.S. Open and try to emulate. It is not just these three players, but also Aryna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula and Elena  Rybakina. None of these have won U.S. Open with the exception of Swiatek, who won it last year. Perhaps someone else can do it, in the big trophy, Perhaps.