Alcaraz and Djokovic clearly ahead of the pack but can be caught, says Bartoli

By Sports Desk July 22, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic are clearly ahead of the rest of the men's singles field, but Marion Bartoli believes both can be caught.

Alcaraz denied Djokovic a fifth straight Wimbledon title last weekend with a stunning five-set victory at SW19, to secure the 20-year-old Spaniard a second grand slam title.

As a pair, Alcaraz and Djokovic have now won the last five grand slams stretching back to last year's Wimbledon, and Bartoli feels they are far ahead of the chasing pack.

The former Wimbledon champion however suggests that gap could motivate others to work on their own game in order to catch up.

"Very much, when you look at the first three grand slams [of 2023], it's clear that there is Novak, Carlos and the rest and there is quite a gap between those two and the rest," she told Stats Perform.

"That's quite obvious with the results. That said, I think that's going to push them to sort of catch back just like Novak did with Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal].

"With [them] having more Grand Slams than him and wanting to be part of the conversation, that just pushed him to elevate his level.

"I think it's going to be the case on the ATP. I don't think the guys are going to look at Carlos and Novak saying 'Oh my god, they're just untouchable, and we're going to lose to them'.

"I think they're going to really try hard. Especially I can see [Holger] Rune, I can see [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, I can see [Daniil] Medvedev, all those and [Jannik] Sinner, being very eager and very hungry to just go and chase.

"I'm sure they can actually push them to work harder on their game to come up with something even better. So I don't see it as a runaway completely and there is no opposition.

"I think maybe it's going to take a little bit of time before they reach that level, but I just don't think it's going to be that easy in a way for Novak and Carlos to just win everything without having a say from the other players."

Bartoli, who won at SW19 in 2013 before retiring in 2018, believes Alcaraz has taken the best qualities of the 'Big Three' of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer and feels he is one of those spearheading a new era in tennis.

"In the eras before, when you look at Pete Sampras, and all those players, it was one way to play and then if you would take that play away it was a lot more difficult for them," she explained. 

"If you take Alcaraz for me, what is very interesting is he has almost the best of Novak, Roger and Rafa combined and that is new. I think it's very much sort of total tennis, when you feel there is just not one department that maybe is lacking a little bit.

"There is a lot of players from this or sort of the past generation that are not that complete, who are really going to suffer against those new kids like Alcaraz, Rune and Sinner who are coming in and just having nothing you feel that they could really do better.

"In that sense, I think that's going to be the new sort of tennis we will see for the next 10 to 20 years."

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