ATP

Alcaraz eager for showdown with 'best in the world' Medvedev and anticipates long Sinner rivalry

By Sports Desk March 19, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz is eagerly anticipating an Indian Wells Open final against "the best tennis player in the world" Daniil Medvedev and expects a long-lasting rivalry with downed opponent Jannik Sinner.

Spaniard Alcaraz defeated Italian Sinner 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in California to reach his first Indian Wells final and move within one win of a return to the top of the ATP World Rankings.

Standing in his way is the in-form Medvedev, who owns a 19-match unbeaten run and has won three straight titles.

The two have only met once competitively, with Medvedev winning in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2021 and Alcaraz always wants to challenge himself against the elite on tour.

"I really want to play against the best tennis player in the world," Alcaraz said. 

"I always say that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and I would say that Daniil is the best player right now, amazing winning streak.

"For me, it's going to be a really difficult challenge but I'm really prepared for that. I will summon my best tomorrow in the final."

Against Sinner, Alcaraz overcame an opponent with whom he is developing quite the budding rivalry.

It was their fifth career showdown and the first time they had met since Alcaraz won a marathon US Open quarter-final, a match that finished at 2.50am local time – the latest ending at the New York major.

"I would say we're going to have a great rivalry over the years. We are playing in the best tournaments in the world. It's not over here. We are going to play a lot of great matches," Alcaraz added.

"All I can say is I'm really happy with my first final here in Indian Wells.

"Playing against Jannik is never easy. I had to overcome a little bit of problems. I had set point down. 

"I knew that I had to increase my level to [beat] Jannik. It was a really close first set. In the second set I put out all the nerves and played more relaxed. I think it was the key of everything."

Medvedev will also play in his first Indian Wells final after defeating Frances Tiafoe 7-5 7-6 (7-4) in the other semi-final.

Medvedev has won in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai and will be the first man to win four titles in five weeks since Andy Murray in 2016 if he can down Alcaraz.

Against Tiafoe, the Russian put in a great showing but let slip seven match points and was broken twice when serving for the match.

"It was crazy at the end," said Medvedev. "I got super tight. I would say that [after] 6-5, 40-0, I think I got tight at deuce when I was like, 'Oh my god, that's a lot of opportunities missed, this could go not well for me'. 

"So, I got really tight, [but] I still managed to continue playing good. The ace [on match point] was a relief, I’m just really happy that I managed not to lose this match."

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    Novak Djokovic knows "history is on the line" as he prepares to face Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final for the second year running.

    The Serb can move clear of Margaret Court and become the most decorated player in Grand Slam history with a 25th title, while matching Roger Federer's record of eight men's singles crowns at SW19.

    Djokovic will appear in his 10th Wimbledon final on Sunday, aiming to avenge his defeat by Alcaraz in a five-set thriller on Centre Court 12 months ago.

    The 37-year-old acknowledges there will be huge expectations on his shoulders when he steps out for a sixth consecutive championship match at the All England Club, but he will attempt to use it as "fuel" for success.

    "Obviously, I'm aware that Roger holds eight Wimbledon [titles]. I hold seven," he said. "History is on the line. Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam.

    "Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time, it's also a lot of pressure and expectation.

    "Any Grand Slam that I play, there's always history now on the line. I will try to use that as a fuel to play my best tennis.

    "Every time I step out on the court now, even though I'm 37 and competing with 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win 99% of the matches that I play.

    "I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at a level with Carlos, Jannik [Sinner], Sascha [Zverev], Daniil [Medvedev], or any of those guys."

    Incredibly, Djokovic has endured a silverware-free season up to this point, while he withdrew from last month's French Open at the quarter-final stage to undergo knee surgery.

    However, the 24-time major champion highlighted 2018 as a previous example of a successful campaign that had started slowly.

    Indeed, he recovered from an elbow operation earlier in the year - along with fourth-round and quarter-final exits from the Australian Open and French Open respectively - to win Wimbledon and the US Open.

    "This year hasn't been that successful for me," he added. "It's probably the weakest results in the first six months I've had in many years.

    "That's okay. I had to adapt and accept that, and also really try to find a way out from the injury that I had and regroup.

    "At Wimbledon, historically, there have been seasons where I maybe wasn't playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.

    "Wimbledon just extracts the best of me and motivates me to always show up and perform the best I can."

  • Record-chasing Djokovic acknowledges 'history is on the line' ahead of Wimbledon final Record-chasing Djokovic acknowledges 'history is on the line' ahead of Wimbledon final

    Novak Djokovic knows "history is on the line" as he prepares to face Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final for the second year running.

    The Serb can move clear of Margaret Court and become the most decorated player in Grand Slam history with a 25th title, while matching Roger Federer's record of eight men's singles crowns at SW19.

    Djokovic will appear in his 10th Wimbledon final on Sunday, aiming to avenge his defeat by Alcaraz in a five-set thriller on Centre Court 12 months ago.

    The 37-year-old acknowledges there will be huge expectations on his shoulders when he steps out for a sixth consecutive championship match at the All England Club, but he will attempt to use it as "fuel" for success.

    "Obviously, I'm aware that Roger holds eight Wimbledon [titles]. I hold seven," he said. "History is on the line. Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam.

    "Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time, it's also a lot of pressure and expectation.

    "Any Grand Slam that I play, there's always history now on the line. I will try to use that as a fuel to play my best tennis.

    "Every time I step out on the court now, even though I'm 37 and competing with 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win 99% of the matches that I play.

    "I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at a level with Carlos, Jannik [Sinner], Sascha [Zverev], Daniil [Medvedev], or any of those guys."

    Incredibly, Djokovic has endured a silverware-free season up to this point, while he withdrew from last month's French Open at the quarter-final stage to undergo knee surgery.

    However, the 24-time major champion highlighted 2018 as a previous example of a successful campaign that had started slowly.

    Indeed, he recovered from an elbow operation earlier in the year - along with fourth-round and quarter-final exits from the Australian Open and French Open respectively - to win Wimbledon and the US Open.

    "This year hasn't been that successful for me," he added. "It's probably the weakest results in the first six months I've had in many years.

    "That's okay. I had to adapt and accept that, and also really try to find a way out from the injury that I had and regroup.

    "At Wimbledon, historically, there have been seasons where I maybe wasn't playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.

    "Wimbledon just extracts the best of me and motivates me to always show up and perform the best I can."

  • 'Best day of my life' – Krejcikova celebrates maiden Wimbledon title 'Best day of my life' – Krejcikova celebrates maiden Wimbledon title

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    The Czech earned her maiden title at All England Club with a hard-fought 6-2 2-6 6-4 victory over Jasmine Paolini in Saturday's final.

    It brought up Krejcikova's second grand slam title, after the 2021 French Open, making her the seventh player to win their first women's singles finals at both tournaments.

    Having pulled off three major shocks to get to the final, knocking out Danielle Collins, Jelena Ostapenko, and Elena Rybakina, Krejcikova appeared stunned when she finally got her hands on the trophy.

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    "It's super difficult to explain what I'm feeling right now. I would like to congratulate Jasmine and her team. She had a great two weeks, it was a great final, and we were fighting for every point.

    "I think nobody believes that I got to the final and nobody believes that I won Wimbledon. I still can't believe it.

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    Following her win over Rybakina in the semi-final, Krejcikova paid tribute to Jana Novotna, who passed away in 2017 from ovarian cancer at the age of 49.

    She first met the 1998 Wimbledon winner 10 years ago, and has now emulated her former mentor's achievements.

    "I think that day, knocking on her door, it changed my life," an emotional Krejcikova added. "Because in that period when I finished the juniors, I didn’t know what to do – should I continue playing pro or go into education?

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