Alcaraz v Djokovic classic in the top three tennis matches Bartoli has ever seen

By Sports Desk July 18, 2023

The epic Wimbledon final between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic is among the best three tennis matches Marion Bartoli has ever seen.

Former Wimbledon champion Bartoli watched in awe as Alcaraz dethroned Djokovic at the All England Club on Sunday, coming from behind to win a classic contest 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4.

Bartoli played in two Wimbledon finals herself and was commentating on the latest instalment of great showpiece battles on Centre Court as Djokovic was denied a record-equalling eighth title at the grand slam tournament.

"I definitely ranked it in the top three matches that I've ever seen," Bartoli told Stats Perform.

"Of course there are some finals I haven't seen especially from before [this era], but I think when you look at it as Roger [Federer] against Rafa [Nadal] at Wimbledon 2008, and then Rafa against Novak at Australian Open 2012 and then this one, you will very much have the top three matches ever played. That's my personal opinion. 

"Maybe some people will add two or three other matches, but it is 100 per cent in the top five without a doubt, and I think I could even put it top three." 

Djokovic was frustrated as the Centre Court crowd rooted for his younger opponent for much of a back-and-forth encounter.

But Bartoli thinks the 20-year-old Spaniard would command support against any player.

She stressed that Wimbledon great Djokovic still gets plenty of backing, and much of the crowd reaction in favour of Alcaraz would have been based on not wanting the match to end quickly as the sport's latest blockbuster rivalry begins.

Alcaraz became the first player not called Djokovic, Federer, Nadal or Andy Murray to triumph at Wimbledon since 2002 – before he was even born – and the British crowd were relishing his success.

"It seemed like there was such an affection for Carlos Alcaraz," Bartoli said.

"In terms of Carlos, I don't know if it's because he's won so many matches and he doesn't lose or maybe the crowd is naturally against Novak, but for me I think it's more of an admiration for Carlos.

"From what I'm seeing from the crowd it is more like when you have this new genius that comes around, everyone wants to be part of the journey. I very much feel that with him. 

"And it's around the world – the welcoming that he had at the US Open last year, look at the shouting from the crowd again in that incredible match against Jannik Sinner when he was really on the ropes and Sinner was leading all the way and just couldn't finish it out at the end. 

"I think it's more when you're recognising that there is someone that good, it's almost impossible not to be for him, unless he's playing a local player. 

"That will be interesting to see if he plays the Brits next year. What sort of Centre Court is it going to be then? But if it's against anyone else then for sure they are going to be on his side.

"But even then I feel Novak has been really getting some great support as well and I think very much the crowd wanted to have a five-set match or a long run. 

"They didn't want it [to end quickly] when Carlos lost the first set easily and when Carlos won the second set then they didn't want Carlos to run away with the match either. 

"They really wanted both players to go out for battle all out for four hours and 45 minutes just like they did, so I don't think it's going to be one-sided always for Carlos Alcaraz. 

"But everyone very much feels like he is really the new genius and everyone wants to see him." 

The loss for Djokovic was the first time he had been beaten in a five-set grand slam final since losing to Murray in the 2012 US Open.

Despite that, Djokovic overtook Chris Evert (34) as the player with the most appearances in major finals, among both men and women (35).

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