Carlos Alcaraz: three-time Slam winner

Carlos Alcaraz
Courtesy of Babolat

In the Roland Garros final fifth set, Carlos Alcaraz was locked in. He knew that if he could crack the ball, everywhere, then he could win another Grand Slam. He certainly did, when he defeated Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.

That was stunning. However, in the last two sets, he became to hit it very hard, and he attacked, whenever he had to. He had played for hours, but he believed that he could still smash the ball, and throw in some incredible shots.

“I know that when I’m playing a fifth set, you have to give everything and you have to give your heart,” Alcaraz said. “I mean, in those moments, it’s where the top players give their best tennis.”

He has now won three Grand Slams, winning Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. He is only 21-years-old, and if the No. 2 continues to be healthy, he can certainly win many more Slams. He is content and he is getting better each month.

“Different tournaments, different aura, but I’m going to say: same feeling. I mean, winning a Grand Slam is always special,” he said.

No. 4 Zverev had a fine event, but in his last two sets, he collapsed, and he looked tired. Maybe in the final of a Slam, he could be be more forceful, or try to rush the net more.

But not with Alcaraz, who is so much smarter. In the semis, the Spaniard edged Jannik Sinner in five, tough sets. Once again, he hammered his forehand and his backhand.

“Last year I clearly failed that exam, but this time we’d done our homework,” said the Spaniard. “This year I managed to do much better. I think I passed the exam, but not with flying colors. It’s something I have to keep improving and as the years go by, I’ll feel even better.”

The Italian Sinner became No. 1, for the first time, and while he couldn’t win at Roland Garros, at least he won the Australian Open, the  ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami, and he reached the semis at Indian Wells, Monte Carlo and RG. He was disappointed in Paris, but now he is thrilled.  That was a gigantic achievement.

“It represents a great result of work ethic. It was one of my goals for myself and my team this year,” he said. “The most important goal is always to improve as a player and as a person, surrounding myself with great people. In the last period I’ve played some really good tennis. I’m very happy to be in this position.”

Here comes the grass
Will Alcatraz, Sinner or Zverev grab the Wimbledon title? Maybe, but it is totally different on the lawn. Perhaps a few of the American men will go deep there, such as Taylor Fritz, Ben Shelton, Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Frances Tiafoe.

Fritz is not playing this week, but the rest are, in Netherlands and Germany. Even the current No. 12 Fritz lost super early at last year’s Wimbledon, so is it possible that maybe one American can reach into the second week? That would be good, as the US guys won it at Wimbledon, such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Sampras won it seven times, and Agassi did it once in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Will the young players push it and learn from it?

A toss-up: Alcaraz versus Sinner in the RG semis

Jannik Sinner
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

The former No. 1, Rafa Nadal, has won Roland Garros 14 times. On clay, he is the best player, ever. However, the other Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz, also really likes on the clay, and in the past 12 days, he has played very aggressively. He out hit Stefanos Tsitsipas in three tough sets, and while he did a few odd errors, he was composed, at the end.

Now in the semis he has to go against Jannik Sinner, who will soon be No. 1 on Monday. He will be thrilled, but if he loses in the semis or the finals, then he would be upset. Or maybe not.  The first thing is he has to be super patient, and really go for it, when the time is right.  Sinner has improved this year, and his forehand and his backhand can mix up, and smash it very hard. Alcaraz has an amazing ground strokes, and the two-time champion has improved his first serve. The young player is very fast, when he is running, and he also is very solid at the net. They are close when they have played each other, as they have had eight matches, 4-4. Is that close enough? Yes. They have only played on the clay once, and Umag, and the Italian Sinner won it. At the Slams, Sinner beat Alcaraz at Wimbledon, but at the 2022, the Spaniard defeated him, and he won the US.Open. They have played only once in 2024, at Indian Wells, and Alcaraz beat him in three demanding sets.

In a sense, they know  each other, pretty well. Both of them think that if he is totally on, then he can really go for it, with his first serve, close to the lines.

“Everything [Sinner] does, he does it perfectly,” Alcaraz said. “The way that he hits the ball is unbelievable. The way he moves, it’s really, really [good]. He pushes you to the limit in every ball, in every point. I think it is the hardest thing to face Jannik. At the same time, I love that. I love these kind of matches. I love this kind of challenge, to have a really difficult battle against him.”

Sinner will try to slap with his forehand, somewhat  deep, yet Alcaraz will attempt to go down the line with his quick spin.   It will likely be a marathon, and in the end, in the fifth set, Alcaraz will win it 6-4, in four hours.

Can Alexander Zverev will finally win a Grand Slam?

Well, over the past week, he was struggle, but he made it. From the backcourt, he was so consistent, crosscourt, and down the line. He rarely gets tired now, and his goal is to win a Slam for the first time.

“I’m in another semifinal here, which I’m very pleased about. Of course I want to win one,” said Zverev. “I want to be in the finals. That’s my main focus.”

He has to face the 25-year-old Casper Ruud, who really loves on the clay, having reach into the final at the 2023 Roland Garros. He lost against Novak Djokovic, but in the semis, he beat Zverev. Yes, this year, he came big again, but in the semis, Ruud was on fire, while Zverev collapsed. Maybe the German will do some knew shots, that fool him. Or, Ruud can trick him, again.

“Okay, I won’t play perfect, but I’m going to be a tough player to beat in best-of-five sets on clay,” said Ruud. “That’s the kind of mentality that has been working for me.  I know if the opponents want to beat me, they’re going to have to play really good tennis for at least three full sets, and I’m going to try to make it tough for them. Physically I’m going to try to be in good shape and make them suffer if I can.”

Ruud knows that Zverev can be very intense for hours, but he does know that on the clay, he can exhaust him. He will, and Ruud will win it 6-7, 7-7, 6-4, 6-3.

After taking Rome, can Zverev win Roland Garros?

Alexander Zverev
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Almost exactly two years ago, Alexander Zverev fell down hard and in the semis at Roland Garros. He had to retire due to his ankle injury. His body was ruined. It has taken the German a long time to slowly improve again, and finally in Rome, he won the title, beating Nicolas Jarry.

He was very patient, he was creative, and he could mash the ball. Zverev can very controversial, but on the court, the 27-year-old can be calm, and thoughtful. The No. 4  is rising again, so in Paris, he will try to be more focused. He badly wants to win a Grand Slam for the first time.

“Because it’s clay, to start with. It’s the most physical one for me, in my opinion,” Zverev said about the three-out-of-five at Roland Garros. “It’s the physically toughest one.  But I think it’s the one where I have the most memories, good or bad. US Open, yes, I was two points away from winning the title [in 2020]. Of course, that’s also one that kind of sticks out.  Roland Garros, so close to being in the final [against Rafa Nadal] I felt like. I was playing some of the best tennis of my life in 2022. Those kind of things, they are still in the back of my mind. Yeah, that’s the one that I want to do well in.”

At the start of the year, Zverev  looked like that his return was more consistent, and his forehand went deeper, close to the lines. But in the semis at the Aussie Open, he was up two sets, but then Daniil Medvedev began to be incredibly consistent, and then Zverev went back, and he missed some critical shots, losing 7–5, 6–3, 6–7(4), 6–7(5), 3–6.  That was almost heart breaking. But right now, he wants to try it again.

“That’s the one that I want to win. That’s the one that I look forward the most maybe throughout the year,” he said.  “I’m going to do everything I can this year and we’ll see where I can end up.”

It is one thing that Zverev  can beat a bunch of good, but not great players, but can he take down Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, at Roland Garros, or one of them? That is a tough order. He says that he can.

“I’m somebody that I know when I don’t play well, I can lose to anyone, but when I play well, I know I can beat anyone. That’s my mindset,” Zverev said. “That’s how I think about it.  I know I have to focus on myself, to find my rhythm in Paris the way I did here. Then everything is on my own racquet.”

Once again in Paris in 2023, in the semis, he was very formable, but Casper Ruud was super steady, and the Norwegian won. However, Zverev just won Rome, so on the excellent clay, he is thrilled and more mature, when he is thinking. Now he has to drive it.

“Nole is going to be at his best. You’ll see,” Zverev said. “It’s just the way it is. Rafa is going to play a lot better than he did in Madrid and Rome. I’m certain about that. The other two [Sinner and Alcaraz] they just depend on health. If they’re healthy, they’re two of the best players in the world, for sure, and there’s no question about it. Whether or not they are healthy, I cannot answer because I don’t know. I’m not inside their body. I saw Jannik posted a picture of him practicing again, so I’m assuming he’s fine and feeling good on the tennis court. Look, it’s all about health. When they’re healthy, they’re two of the best players in the world.”

Just like Zverev, who is healthly, and the best player, too? That is a  huge question.

Danielle Collins wins Miami, can she won a Slam?

Was it very surprised when Danielle Collins won the Miami Open, beating Elena Rybakina 7-5, 6-3 in the final? Maybe, as for the first time, when the 30-year-old finally won a WTA Masters 1000-level even. That is a very long time, but over the past two weeks, she was very focused, she nailed her forehand and her backhand deep, into the corners. She can try to blast it, all the time, but she can also over hit, and lose her control. Yes she is playing great now, but for many years, she was not close. However, in Florida, Collins locked in.

“That game took a lot out of me and Elena was pushing me all around the court,” Collins said. “At the end I was just like, ‘Thank God.’ It all caught up to me.”

She came ranked No. 53  in Miami, and now she is No. 22. She said that at the end of the year, she will retire, because she’s suffering from the endometriosis, a painful ailment that affects the uterus. That can be painful, but on court, you just have to fight, in the matches. You have know choice.

Just before she played in Miami, she woke up, and she was ready to dance, and to put it in.

“When I walked in today, I immediately had, like, a few cameramen on me and we were having some great moments with my team. I said, you know, these are some really special moments<“ Collins said. “I don’t want to be so focused on everything else where I don’t get of take it in.
Part of the reason why I played so well and did a good job today was because I had that mentality of, like, I’m going to enjoy every minute of this. This is my last year, and these are some of my final events. I want to remember these moments. I do look back on sometimes different stages of my career, and be like, wow, that’s a blur and I don’t really remember it that much. It doesn’t really seem that long ago when you say, oh, four years or six years, but in a lot of ways it can feel like an eternity.”

She has yet to win Grand Slam, but at least she reached into the final at the 2022 Aussie Open, and then she finally lost, versus Ashleigh Barty. Really, Barty is a better played, even after she retired then Collins. So that is not a big deal, but maybe, in the next seven months, she can win another tournament. Maybe the U.S. Open?  She has only won three events, so then why not to go for it again.

Many times, Rybakina can play amazing, but then, she can trip it up. She was not thrilled when she lost in the final. The No. 4 Rybakina said that about Collins “she’s playing very aggressive…Physically I was not at my best so I couldn’t push myself. Maybe I should have maybe just risked a little bit more when I had these break points.”

She didn’t, but on the clay, she will try again with more patience…All of the three top players — with Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff— all lost. It is impossible to win all the matches, month after month, so if you lose, you can take a huge breath, and move on…This week, in Credit One Charleston Open, Collins will face against the No. 6 Ons Jabeur. That should be a crazy match, as Jabeur can really mix it all around, but she has been slumping, so she will have to really center…Almost all the American women who are playing, with also with Jessica Pegula, Madison Keys and Emma Navarro, among others. Hopeful the weather will be decent, as there have been some tough days over the past four weeks, including in California, Florida, and South Carolina. Good luck…

With the men, at the 2024 Aussie Open, Jannik Sinner said, “I like to dance in the pressure storm.” Well he did it, and the won it at Miami 6-3, 6-1, over over Grigor Dimitrov. He is winning all the time, now. This year, he could become No. 1 for the first time. Maybe, because on the clay, it will be totally more feel, on the court. However, he is so darn good, now. He has only lost won match over the past three months. He is  solid and powerful. Now he is No. 2, ahead of Carlos Alcaraz , slightly. A few years ago, he wasn’t understanding what to do, a lot. But now, he is very calm, and conscious.

“You go through, when you’re young, you don’t handle these situations as I handle them now. Maybe in the future I handle them even better, ”Sinner said, who also destroyed Daniil Medvedev in the semis. “But my personality is very trying to stay calm. But in the other way, you have to don’t sit back. You have to attack it. You know, if I lose the match by attacking and trying to take it, for me it’s better than standing back and then seeing what’s happening. That’s also how I am.  So you have to stay focused, mentally in every situation. On the courts, many things can happen. The momentum can switch so fast even if you’re up a set and break. So you have to be very aware of this.”

He has to go to Monte Carlo, to play,  next week. weeks. The Italian is also thinking about playing at Roland Garros, but he is already thinking about Rome. Or anything.

“Now the clay season is coming, so usually I struggle there. So let’s see what I can do this year,” he said. “For sure, I am living a good life now…For sure, the main goal is Roland Garros, yes, but trying to work slowly into this tournament and trying to play it in the best possible way. Before I have Rome, for me, especially is a really, really important tournament. Playing with the home crowd, it’s always amazing. No, I’m very relaxed.  Physically I’m in a different shape than I was last year, which the clay is a lot physical. Then we’ll see how it goes.”

He will go somewhere… The American men are in Houston this week, on clay.  It has gone for a very long times, and the fans who see to like it. However, there are not any of the top 10, but at least there are a couple men who are in the top 20 with Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton. The Argentine, Francisco Cerundolo, is also there, who is rankedNo. 23. Whoever will win the event and then they will travel into Europe. When they land, they can continue to cheer. But after that, can they beat the tremendous players, to win, or fold, again? That is a huge question.

Miami final: Can Grigor Dimitrov upset Jannik Sinner?

Grigor Dimitrov
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

The last time when that Grigor Dimitrov reached into the final at a ATP 1000 was in October, when he reached at the Paris Masters, and he didn’t win it, he was getting better.  Over the past 11 days in the Miami Open, he rose up, upsetting Carlos Alcaraz,  and also when he out-lasted Alexander Zverev 6-4 in the third. Finally he was confidence again, which can be a bit odd, giving that the 32-year-old did not play well last year, here and there, but something must have happen to focus much more on the court.
However, has to face against Jannik Sinner, who is on fire, as he has only lost one match in 2024, and at the Aussie Open, he won it, when he played fantastic.

Almost four years ago in Rome, Dimintrov beat him 6-4 in the third, and it was darn close, but he was more steady at the end. Yet last year, Sinner beat him twice, in Miami, early in straight sets, and then in the fall, he pushed him back to win in three sets in Beijing.
Dimitrov has changed, again, to be real, much more, as in the start of the year, he won Brisbane, and he reached the final in Marseille. He was different.

“I think the discipline brought me to that moment. There is nothing else,” Dimitrov said, who won Cincinnati and the ATP 1000 Final in London in 2017. “I didn’t kind of deviate from my target, not even my goal. I had small targets throughout — every single week I had a target, and also to be able to put my body through all that on a daily basis was also very important for me. Every single day when I wake up and I don’t have a big pain that would stop me to practice 100% was already a success for me. So when you start putting all that together, I think it’s where I’m most, in a way, most proud with. Of course competing against top players and beating them sort of back to back, it’s definitely what I’m the most happy with.”

The Italian is on the tear, winning everything, expected for Indian Wells. But here, he is again, nailing with her forehand and his backhand. He can smash it, into the corners, or down the line. He is more than an intense person. He has grown up.

“The first time I came here I made final, I couldn’t sleep the night [before],” said Sinner, who destroyed Daniil Medvedev. “The second time, which was last year, I was relaxed because I went through periods where I already [had similar] experiences.  Now I’m a different player, different person. I will handle it hopefully a little bit better again.”

Will Carlos Alcaraz or Jannik Sinner take the Miami title?

Carlos Alcaraz
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Is it possible for Carlos Alcaraz  to win Indian Wells and Miami back to back?

Some people have, but not many, such as Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka and Iga Swiatek.

Azarenka  is still there, but Djokovic decided not to play in Miami, Federer has retired and Swiatek, who won Indian Wells, just lost in Florida against Ekaterina Alexandrova. When you win Indian Wells, you could be tired, depending on how you feel.

Alcaraz’s will find out shortly, when he has to face versus  Lorenzo Musetti, the Italian, who put down Ben Shelton 6-4, 7-6(5).  

On court, the 20-year-old can really throw into some very cool shots, being patient and when he is set up, he can drive the ball. Alcaraz can miss here and there, down the line or crosscourt. Yes, he will keep going, harder and harder.

“Every player has his own style. But probably mine is a little bit different to other Spaniards’ style,” he said. “I think other Spanish players have similar style than mine. I’m more aggressive. I think my ball goes faster. I have a lot of things that I can do on the court. It’s depend on the player.”

Believe it or not, in the 2023 Miami, he lost to Jannik Sinner in three sets. Maybe it will happen again, because the Italian is still winning. Sinner won the Australian Open, and this season he has won almost all of it, also winning Rotterdam. But guess what?  Alcaraz out fooled him, beating Sinner it 6-2 in the third at Indian Wells in the semis. It could happen again, but  Sinner has to be patient, and go for it early, if there is a chance.

Christopher O’Connell will play Sinner on Tuesday , and he has to play spectacular, as this year he has not gone deep at all, until this week. He has to play very consistent, and move forward, fast. If he wins it, it will be one of his best matches of all time.

Speaking of Hubert Hurkacz … he has had a decent year, even terrific, as the tall man not only can chuck it some many aces, but he can hit his forehand and his backhand deep, without too many errors. He is thoughtful, that is for sure. However, he has to face Grigor Dimitrov, a veteran, as the one-handed backhand can earth him. He can play great, or he can disappear. It is hard to know, but it should be a very intense match.

We all know that the former No.1 Azarenka has won the title three times in Miami in 2009, 2011 and 2016, and she was very good, but she would hit some off errors. Maybe she will win it again, but she is ranked No. 32, and she has not won a big title in a long time. The 34-year-old is still so powerful, from both sides, but she does not return enough, and to run it down. Maybe Azarenka  will rise up one more time, but first she has to face Yulia Putintseva, who has been consistent for a long time. They will try to jump on the lines.

Here is a stellar match when Elena Rybakina will face Maria Sakkari, the two top 10ers. The No. 4 Rybakina won Brisbane, and her strokes can be tremendous, but she can also trip it down. Finally, Sakkari started to play well over the past few weeks, and she reached the final at Indian Wells. She loves to rally, for many hours, but she also has to go for it, faster. She has no choice as Rybakina will attack her as soon as she can and put it on the lines.

Indian Wells: Tommy Paul to face Casper Ruud

Tommy Paul
Mal Taam/MALTphoto

Taylor Fritz was gone, when Holger Rune hit a number of shots in a 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 victory. Now the American men have one left, in the quarters, as Tommy Paul will face off against Casper Ruud on Thursday at Indian Wells.

Paul is looking better, stroke to stroke, and he can also attack when he has a decent chance. Ruud can be creative, when the 25-year-old can feel that when he is on top of the ball, then he can hit it extremely hard.  Paul said that he really wants to win a huge tournament, like this one.

“My goal coming into this year was to win titles. I made I think two or three finals last year,” he said.  “Never won the tournament. So this year was, like, my main goal is to win tournaments. I got one title, and I want more. I mean, I want to leave the tournament with a win. The best feeling in tennis, and it doesn’t happen too often.”

Jannik Sinner is winning all the time, beating everyone right now. The Italian out-hit over Ben Shelton, and now he will be a decent  favorite when he faces
against Jiri Lehecka, another young man who is only 22 years old. He is quick, fast, and he can also jump on the ball. The Czech has been up and down this year, but at least he won at the start of the year at Adelaide, Australia.  However, Sinner knows that he has to be much more thoughtful, point after point.

”I never take things for granted. I mean, every tournament, every match you go on court trying to do your best, trying to stay mentally focused,” said Sinner. “That’s what I try to do.”

Who would have known that the American Emma Navarro took down the No. 2  Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 3-6, 6-2? She has been playing fantastic over the past eight days, with some tremendous shots, with her forehand and her backhand. She has been returning really well, and she can mix it up when she is thinking where to go. Plus, now she is more comfortable, on the court, and off.

“It’s a little bit unnatural for me to be in the spotlight and be playing on a court like that with a ton of fans and TVs and eyes on me. It’s not my natural way,”  Navarro said. “But I feel I’m definitely getting more comfortable Also I think that was my second or third fist pump ever.”

She will have to face against Maria Sakkari, who loves to rally, and she rarely gives it up. However, she can push the ball, at times. That should be a marathon.

The other American, the former 2023 U.S. champion, Coco Gauff, easily beat  Elise Mertens 6-0 6-2. Now Gauff  will face against Yuan Yue of China, who is very steady, but in order to chop the American, she will have to nail it in her forehand. Gauff has a fantastic backhand, and she is also wonderful at the net, but she can slip up with her forehand. Without a doubt, though, she can really focus, even when she is not playing great. She is more mature and she is getting better, gradually.

A stunner: Luca Nardi upsets Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic

At the beginning of Indian Wells, the No. 1 Novak Djokovic is the best player. But once and a while, he can lose, especially early. He did, when the 20-year-old Luca Nardi shocked him, when he put together some amazon rallies.

Without a doubt, Djokovic was somewhat flat, in the third set, and Nardi ran so fast. He won it, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The fans could not believe it, but the intense No. 123 kept going hard, and he ran second after second. When he won, he was thrilled, whether he will last this week is a new question, but he did say that he was thinking what he had to do.

“I think that before this night no one knew me,” Nardi said. “I think it is a miracle, because I am a 20-year-old guy, 100 in the world, and beating Novak. It’s crazy.”

Yes it was, but now he has to face against the American, Tommy Paul, who beat Ugo Humbert, a very good player.  Paul has not had a great year in 2024 at the top 10 men, but he put some solid wins. It is time to play even better and  try to move up further.

“I’ve been working on playing aggressive, even at the most important times,” Paul said. “I’ve been doing better at that.”

On Wednesday night, the other American, Ben Shelton, has to over think against the Australian champ Jannik Sinner. In the Aussie Open, Shelton went into a fifth set, but the smart, veteran Adrian Mannarino chopped him down. But on Tuesday, at night, Shelton will have to play as well as he can as Sinner is on fire, week after week. He will have to snap on his arms, and go down on the lines. It should be a super intense contest.

The long time women players who have won so many terrific matches, when the champions,  Carolina Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, will play each other on Wednesday night. If you like to watch some long rallies, then sit down and gaze because it could take hours. That can go cross court, backhand to backhand, and also,  change it up, more. Will one of the players win another huge event, ever again?  Probably, yes, this year, but it is unsure. 

Speaking of which, the  American Taylor Fritz won Delray Beach, beating Paul. They know each other well and which they go. However, Fritz did win Indian Wells two years ago, so now, if he can nail it into the corners, consistently, he will have chance to go far. However, he has to knock down over Holger Rune, who is a darn good player, when he is on. He can be super solid, with his backhand, and he can return, too. But if Fritz can be immediately aggressive, then he can push him way back and put it away. Good, luck.

TennisReporters.net top 32 men: 5-1

Novak Djokovic

5 Andrey Rublev
He is very powerful, when he is on, and he can smile in the ball, to both sides. When he is feeling very good, the Russian can go for it, early, or if he is feeling patient, he can mix it up from the backcourt. However, he has yet to win a Grand Slam, and while he can be right there, but then, his other spectacular player rarely become nervous. He does, on occasion. Unfortunatly, he has yet to reach the semis at the Grand Slams, as the 26-year-old has backed up when it was close. He did win Monte Carlo, and Bastad, Sweden, and also, when he reached the final at Shanghai, China in October . That was very solid, but Novak Djokovic beat him time and time again, so if he wants to upset him, next year, he has to improve his volley, and also, closer at the net.  He might be able to win a Slam in 2024, then he is going to be a real show.

4 Jannik Sinner
Here is another one who can eventually grab to win a Slam. The Italian had a terrific week in the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy,, beating Daniil Medvedev, upsetting Djokovic early on, but then in the final, the Serbian rose, while Sinner looked pretty tired, or maybe he was  collapsing. In a sense, it doesn’t really matter, as in the fall, he played fantastic, winning Beijing and Vienne, beating  Daniil Medvedev, twice. He stood toe-to-toe, grinding him down, and with some his massive strokes, with his backhand or his forehand. He even won the ATP Masters in Toronto in August, revolting so high. However, he can mess it up, depending which week, whether he is playing great, or mediocre. He is tall, and he can put it into the corner, but next year, if he can win Slam for the first time. To do it though,  he has to return better and deeper, and meld it up, even more.  He has to be more true , and really pay attention before he gets on the court. It is almost mandatory.

3 Daniil Medvedev
The other Russian had a up and down year, winning a bunch of matches, but also, when he looked darn good at the U.S. Open against Djokovic in the final, he looked like he had a real chance to win it, but in the second set tiebreaker, he was right there. then he missed some unpaired error. He does really like to rally, very flat, and he will to wear down the opponents, but at times, he doesn’t like to come into the net enough, so his decisions could be questionable. He has a little bit with the spin, now,  and his first serve is flat, to different areas. The man can look startling, and this year, he won Rotterdam, Netherlands,  Doha, Qatar ,  Dubai, Miami and Rome. In the fall, he was very decent, but not fantastic. He is quite caring, and he looks to think, when he is talking, which is awesome, but in the court, if he wants to win another Slams, he must change a few things, especially when he can go down really low, and put it away.

2 Carlos Alcaraz
He has become darn fast,  sprinting to the right and to the left, mixing it up, and he can win it into the corners for a winner. The Spaniard is very young, and he still has a decent amount to improve, but he already can change his tactics. His forehand and his backhand are jolly sturdy, and he can also touch it on the net and put it away. However, after he won Wimbledon, and he played wonderful ball, after that, he could not win another title. Of course he was hurt, bodily, once and a while, and perhaps he was mentally shake, yet next year, he will learn how he will approach it. In the first half, he also won Buenos Aires, Indian Wells, Barcelona, Madrid, and London/Queens, and of course, Wimbledon, in the clay, the hardcourts, and the grass. That was almost flawless, but then   he wasn’t after that. At the end at the ATP Finals, Djokovic beat Alcaraz in straight sets, out hitting him, backhand versus backhand.  Maybe at the Australian Open, he can win the title, that is if his second serve and his return can be upwords.

1 Novak Djokovic

Way back when, when he won his first Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open, he was so swift, and his backhand was already phenomenal, but his forehand was good, but not great. His return was so sensible, and he could play stroke after stroke, and he rarely became tired. However, he knew, year after year, that he had to get much better so he could not only beat everyone, but to win the titles, he had to be more muscular, in the matches. Now, he has won 23 Grand Slams, a record, and here and there, he could miss some strange errors, but he will always try to hang in there, and re-do it.    He won three Slams this season, and next year, he might be able to do it again. He has won 98 Slams, and he is third behind Jimmy Connors (109 titles) and Roger Federer [103 titles.) In 2024, Djokovic could pass Federer, and eventually, maybe next year, he can tie Connors. Either way, he is the dominates.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic wins and wins

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic can win  so many tournaments next year. He is older, for sure, as he is 36-years-old, but in 2023, he beat everyone, especially in the fall. The young players have improved a good amount, and yes, they can upset the Serbian, but they have to jump on him, early. Or Djokovic can be patient, and really chance it up.

In the ATP Finals last week, he beat Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, in the semis and in the final, and he didn’t lose a set. He was essentially perfect.

As his coach, Goran Ivanisevic said:  “I think Carlos didn’t play his best tennis. Still you need to beat him,” he said. “Nole lift his game. He came ready. He knew how to play unbelievable matches this year.  Carlos already won two Grand Slams and he’s future of tennis. Jannik really step up this year. He showed the world and himself that he’s ready next year to win Grand Slams, and he’s not afraid of anybody.

I think they going to both of them practice hard. The season is over. I think next year’s going to be very, very competitive and interesting year.”

Yes, during the year, he lost some so-so matches, and he lost. But Djokovic kept  moving forward, striding, and still learning. He has now won 98 singels titles, which is phenomenal, not only when he has won 23 Grand Slams, but he has won many various events, in Asia, Australia, the United States, Canada, Europe, ext.  The huge hitter has also won in the hardcourts, on the clay, in the grass, outside and inside. But he is smarter on court, and perhaps, off the court.  

“I knew as soon as [Novak] got into the semifinal, he’s going to win the tournament. The mentality changed,” the Croatian Ivanisevic said.  “The new Novak Djokovic arrived on the court from Saturday. When real Novak Djokovic arrives on the court, then the moment is nobody that can play with him.”

When he won the Australian Open for the first time in 2008, Djokovic ran so fast, and he was super steady, but while his backhand was absurd, his forehand, his return and at the net needed to enrich. However, even though he had some difficult seasons, he still drove himself, and he added with different strokes.

 “It’s very tough to improve with him (smiling). But he wants to improve,” the one-time 2001 Wimbledon champion. Ivanisevic said. “ That’s the good thing and bad thing for me as a coach and the rest of the team. He improved a lot his volleys, his game at the net, and his position at the net. Now when he comes to the net – okay, today  he missed some easy volleys [against [Sinner]  – but generally this week and this year he plays some amazing volleys.  His position at the net is a lot better. Is very tough to pass him. Before he was very easy to pass. Now he knows what he’s doing at the net. He’s comfortable at the net. Final of U.S. Open he played two, three most important volleys in the final against [beating Daniil Medvedev]. He’s not afraid to come to the net. He’s hitting the forehands much, much harder. He’s going for the shots. Serving, second serve, sometimes he’s hitting over 200. He’s just going for it.”

Yes he did, and he still wants to be perfect, at the net. In January, Djokovic can win another Australian Open. Clearly he will be the favorite. But eventually,  the older you get, it is hard to sprint very fast. However, in 2024, he could do it again. He will make a huge effort.

Will anyone win a Slam next year? Maybe. Clearly, Alcaraz is very young and he is improving, so he could win one Slam, or two. You can throw in with Sinner, who had a terrific fall, but he has yet to win Slam, so in December, he must be thinking about how to return, deeper, and also, at the tough, nets.
 The American men had a solid year, overall, but no one reached into the final at the Slams. OK, maybe next year. Five of them are in the top 25 with Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul,  Frances Tiafoe , Ben Shelton  and Sebastian Korda. They are still pretty young, so they could rise, higher, but to beat Djokovic, or the rest of the top eight players, they will have to be much  deeper, about exactly what to do. Please.