Match Stats/Report - Alcaraz vs Djokovic, Wimbledon final, 2023


Hall of Fame
Carlos Alcaraz beat Novak Djokovic 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the Wimbledon final, 2023 on grass

It was Alcaraz’ first title at the event and he had won Queen’s Club title in the lead in. Djokovic had won the previous 4 editions, as well as Australian Open and French Open earlier in the year. He would go onto win the US Open later in the year as well

Alcaraz won 168 points, Djokovic 166

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (94/150) 63%
- 1st serve points won (66/94) 70%
- 2nd serve points won (28/56) 50%
- Aces 9 (1 second serve), Service Winners 1
- Double Faults 7
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (41/150) 27%

- 1st serve percentage (118/184) 64%
- 1st serve points won (73/118) 62%
- 2nd serve points won (37/66) 56%
- Aces 2
- Double Faults 3
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (43/184) 23%

Serve Pattern
Alcaraz served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 50%
- to Body 8%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 48%
- to BH 46%
- to Body 6%

Return Stats
Alcaraz made...
- 138 (63 FH, 75 BH), including 3 return-approaches
- 4 Winners (3 FH, 1 BH)
- 41 Errors, comprising...
- 17 Unforced (11 FH, 6 BH), including 1 return-approach attempt
- 24 Forced (11 FH, 13 BH)
- Return Rate (138/181) 76%

Djokovic made...
- 102 (42 FH, 60 BH)
- 31 Errors, comprising...
- 12 Unforced (5 FH, 7 BH)
- 19 Forced (11 FH, 8 BH)
- Return Rate (102/143) 71%

Break Points
Alcaraz 5/19 (9 games)
Djokovic 5/15 (7 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Alcaraz 53 (25 FH, 12 BH, 5 FHV, 6 OH)
Djokovic 30 (14 FH, 4 BH, 5 FHV, 4 BHV, 3 OH)

Alcaraz' regular FHs - 4 cc (2 returns), 1 cc/longline, 2 dtl, 3 inside-out, 1 inside-in return, 2 longline, 5 drop shots
- regular BHs - 1 cc/down-the-middle (bad bounce related), 1 dtl, 1 longline, 1 drop shot

- 16 passes (7 FH, 8 BH, 1 BHV)
- FHs - 3 cc, 2 dtl, 1 inside-out/dtl, 1 lob
- BHs - 3 cc, 3 dtl (1 return), 1 inside-out/dtl, 1 longline
- BHV - non-net shot

- 2 from return-approach points (1 FHV, 1 OH)

- 1 other FHV was a non-net, swinging net chord dribbler, 1 OH was on the bounce from no-man's land (non-net) & 1 other OH can reasonably be called a FHV

Djokovic's FHs - 3 cc (1 pass - a net chord pop over), 1 cc/longline, 1 dtl/inside-out, 4 inside-out, 2 inside-in, 1 net chord dribbler, 1 running-down-drop-shot cc/drop shot at net
- BHs - 1 cc, 2 dtl (1 at net), 1 inside-out pass

- 1 from a serve-volley point, a first 'volley' FH at net

- 1 other FHV was a non-net swinging shot

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Alcaraz 86
- 42 Unforced (21 FH, 15 BH, 2 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 2 BHV, 1 OH)... with 1 BH pass attempt
- 44 Forced (17 FH, 23 BH, 2 FHV, 1 Back-to-Net, 1 Tweener)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net, 2 BH running-down-drop shots at net, 1 BH can reasonably be called a Back-to-Net shot & 1 baseline FHV
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.3

Djokovic 71
- 53 Unforced (27 FH, 23 BH, 2 FHV, 1 BHV)... with 1 FH running-down-drop-shot at net, 1 FH that he made but incorrectly Challenged & 1 swinging FHV
- 18 Forced (9 FH, 8 BH, 1 FHV)... with 2 BH running-down-drop-shot at net & 1 baseline FHV
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46.4

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Alcaraz was...
- 25/43 (58%) at with, including...
- 2/5 (40%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 2/3 (67%) return-approaching
- 1/5 (20%) forced back

Djokovic was...
- 38/61 (62%) at with, including...
- 3/7 (43%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
- 0/1 forced back

Match Report
This match has everything. A great story - veteran legend vs prodigious talent, with match progressing to a turnaround with alternating breadksticks, divided by a coin flip tiebreak. And not just high end, but complicated high end action. Final result is most fitting, with Alcaraz greater fitness making him stronger player in the second half of the match and more likely to win, as he ends up doing. Court is relatively slow, but has typical, slippery grass bounce

Statistically, match is very close

Alcs wins 168 point, Djoko 166. Alcs does serve just 44.9%. That’s due entirely to an outlier 32 point game, the important part of which is that Alcs ends up breaking. Replace that game with a break to 30 and you’d still get a 2 final, 2 point differential, but points served also virtually 50-50

Gist of the above, points won virtually equal, discrepancy in points served not important. Djoko isn’t regularly struggling to hold serve, as the discrepancy might suggest

Beyond stats, the game is pivotal. It’s in it that Djoko’s worn down, and his energy level afterwards is pointedly lower than the fiddle fit Alcs

Break points - Alcs 5/19 (9 games), Djoko 5/15 (7 games)
Same number of breaks, and again, Alcs having more of them is due to the outlier game

By sets, each player delivering a breadstick. The one Djoko delivers is nominally more commanding as he’s comfily in control. The one Alcs delivers features the 32-point struggle and a tanking Djoko afterwards. Practically, Alcs’ bagel is more handy is it wears down his opponent for what lies ahead

And the complicated action? What makes this match fascinating is how even the two players are on everything. Many matches are close, but at least you can identify who has better of what - one player serving better, the other returning, someone with better, more damaging FH, someone with better, steadier BH and so on

There’s no clear answer to anything in this one

Who serves better? Who returns better? The better FH? BH? Net game and passing?
Can legitimately make a case for either player having better of all of them, or none of them - and almost all of the mini-contests have a unique story to them too

Can’t even tell who aggressor is. Alcs leads winners 53-30, but Djoko forces more errors 44-18
Alcs has fewer UEs 42-53, and neutral UEs 17-29
(Djokovic's slighlty more aggressive - more on that later)

Alcaraz is fitter - that much is crystal clear. And with greater fitness, considerably quicker in second half of match

Serve-return contest
Wind and how the players adjust
FHs & BHs
Net play
Offence and Defence
Clutching and Choking
Strategies, adjustments - and surprises

So many things going on. Summary might need a summary at the end of this

Basic Stats & Serve & Return
1st serve in - Alcs 63%, Djoko 64%
1st serve won - Alcs 70%, Djoko 62%
2nd serve won - Alcs 50%, Djoko 56%

Would generally be taken to reflect Alcs stronger server, Djoko better court player, with neither owning substantial advantage

Winds have a role in shaping the serving. Its breezy enough that both players tight shirts are constantly flapping when its on, which means its breezy enough to curb serving strength and accuracy

Alcs takesn it in stride, Djoko is more put out. Alcs plays normal pace, Djoko takes his sweet time in getting on with service points. Most of all, between first and second serves. You’d think the 15 year veteran who’s seen and done it all and hasn’t lost a match on this court in a dedade would master conditions better, than a guy whose played fewer grass court tournaments than his opponent has won Wimbledon titles, but no. It is disruptively windy, and all credit to to Alcs for taking it in stride. His not making a show of being troubled doesn’t mean he’s any less put out than Djoko is

Alcs does serve better. We’ll get to who is or isn’t better court player later

Who returns better is up in the air, I would say Alcs again
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Hall of Fame
Unreturned serves - Alcs 27%, Djoko 23%
Aces/Service Winners - Alcs 9/1, Djoko 2
Double faults - Alcs 7, Djoko 3

Low freebie rate for grass, and Djoko’s mere 2 aces is shockingly low for a server of his calibre

First serve ace/service winner rates - Alcs 10%, Djoko 1.7%
That figure of Djoko’s is so low that it can only be product of both credit to Alcs returning and discredit to Djoko’s serve

Alcs reading the serve and moving for return is top-drawer. Still a lot of wide serves to reach and he reaches ‘em, making it look routine. Its not super-hard task, but not as easy as he makes it look. Stefan Edberg and Roger Federer were 2 players who moved so well for the return, and both were in habit of keeping big servers’ aces down. Djoko’s not ‘big serving’, but whatever else he is, he’s not 1.7% first serve aces small

Much as Alcs likes his big FHs, he’s not at all dependent on it. No wasteful runaround returns. If anything, he moves to take body serves with BH in ad court to get closer to center for upcoming rally

And he’s not wanting for attacking second serves. He’s got 4 return winners and 3 return-approaches. Can blast the FH, likes to strike the odd BH inside-in damagingly. Djoko has no return winners

And Djoko? Serve isn’t as weak as its made to look. His stock second returning is better than Alcs. By his standard, not too many returns to baseline, but good lot by anybody elses, including Alcs’ fine mix of firm force and not-short to deepish returning. And unlike Alcs, delivered matter-of-factly, with seemingly no difficulty

Sans double faults, second serve points won Alcs 57%, Djoko 59%
Virtually equal, with Alcs under slightly more pressure to deliver good second serves. Not enough to justify relatively high 7 double faults (Djoko has 3)

So its more Alcs with a slight double fault problem. It doesn’t hurt him. Djoko’s kept a cool head to double so little. Some surprise, big second serves from Djoko thrown in - more than Alcs, who nevertheless is the one to strike a second serve ace

Amusingly, Alcs’ second serve ace rate of 1.786% is greater than Djoko’s first serve rate of 1.695%
Cute, but not too important

Gist - checked serving by both players due to wind. Djoko seemingly more bothered by said wind than Alcs. Alcs serving stronger and returning with top-class movement to make so many returns, while also being a damaging threat. Djoko more able to return neutralizingly or initiative snatchingly more often and clinically

Then they rally

Play - Baseline & Net
Early on, Djoko plays a little wide to Alcs’ FH, while probling his BH. Baiting the FH, inviting Alcs to show the world what a big, bad, powerhouse FH he has. It works, and amidst impeccable consistency from the master Djoko, Alcs misfires big hits out, the silly child

Not only does Alcs wise up and quickly and temper his shot-choices, its very probable that he ends up unintentionally ‘baiting’ Djoko. There’s only 1 thing in tennis that Novak Djokovic seems to think he’s good at, but isn’t and that’s drop shots. Alcs meanwhile, is a master of it

Alcs plays the occasional drop shot to good effect. Does Djoko respond in kind because he’s triggered by the sight? Whatever the answer, he responds with drop shots of his own and misses the shots or goes on to lose the points needlessly and - though he’s never seemed to realize this - predictably

Doesn’t make up much of play - the 2 continue trading orthodox, firm groundstrokes, and Alcs never overdoes the drop shotting, even at the end when he uses them more often than at any other stage. Djoko uses them most after tiring and even then, occasionally. A critical exception is Djoko missing a drop shot in the second set tiebreak - a completely, out of character choice for him in ‘breakers, where he’s gotten into very successful habit of playing the highest percentage shots

If Djoko’s false drop shots are response to Alcs’ proficiency at the touch stuff, who’s the silly child and who’s the master?

Not a big part of the match. With things so close, it doesn’t have to be to be crucial to result

Mid-way through third set, Djoko starts tiring and the 32 point game he eventually loses particularly takes it out of him. Footspeed goes down and footwork is liberally lax or sloppy.
Alcs remains fresh and fast as possible to the end

Its on Djoko to change tacks, which he does by stepping in more, hitting wider. He’s attacked soundly all match - hitting wider and harder amidst solid play - and leads with it, instead of sprinkling it in. Gets better of Alcs, who has his own little stumble, though its not for lacking energy. And Alcs doesn’t ease up on his own shot-making and attacking play, getting those licks in even when getting slightly out-played

How does it look in numbers?

Winners - Alcs 53, Djoko 30
Errors Forced - Alcs 18, Djoko 44
(Aggressively ended points - Alcs 71, Djoko 74)
UEs - Alcs 42, Djoko 53

First thought, strangely. The ratio of winners to errors forced by both players is extreme in opposite directions. The UE count is a bit surprising. The large gap in winners very deceptive

Alcs has 16 passing winners to Djoko's 2 (that is, counter-attacking or forced attacking shots)
Sans those, winners read Alcs 37, Djoko 28
Purely ground-to-ground winners - Alcs 22, Djoko 15

Despite that big gap in passing winners, Djoko still wins healthy 62% at net, which is better than Alcs' 58%, while coming in significantly more (61 approaches to 43)
Alcs has greater firepower and shot-making, does nail more winners to end baseline rallies, but nowhere near the extent suggested by nominal winner count
His great passing keeps Djoko from flying ahead - lots of credit for that, and he'd probably lose if he didn't pull it off. But that's different from blasting Djoko away from the baseline

Neutral UEs - Alcs 17, Djoko 29

UEs by shot -
- Alcs BH 15
- Alcs FH 21, Djoko BH 23
- Djoko FH 27

The neutrals are a linchpin in Djoko’s game and its body blow to be outdone so on it. In part due to tiring but Alcs is very solid after initial, confused burst of baited aggressive errors against Djoko’s throttling and bait stuff

Alcs hits firmly with BH all match. Briefly, he slices some and it’s a very good, low-staying shot that looks like it could be all kinds of useful and worth using more of. He doesn’t and sticks to firm hitting and is by far the steadiest shot on show. Not a hint of giving up weak balls off it either. Alcs stock BH looks like it could stand up to Rafael Nadal’s FH on clay - the litmus test for BH strength
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Hall of Fame
He’s not aggressive with it, despite the 12 winners (Djoko has just 4, but is more attacking). 9 of those winners are passes or bad bounce related. When forced to counter-attack, its excellent - and as powerful as it is rallying, that’s not too surprising

Djoko’s 23 UEs, 4 winner yield is a lot worse on paper. Less worse in court, but still, worse than Alcs. He hits firmly too, and can and does force errors with dtl shots, changes direction to regulate action in a way Alcs, who stick admirably to firm cc shots, doesn’t

He also goes on little error-bender with it that loses him second set tiebreak and sees him go down break in the set after right after

Djoko generally (as in, beyond this match) uses BH-BH rallies to stay in control of himself as much as play. Can’t do it here - Alcs is if anything harder hitter (though not to extent of troubling Djoko, but opposite is also true) and considerably more steady. Even sans the Djoko choke phase

Alcs getting better of BHs than - steadier, slightly harder hit, giving up just as few weak balls, very good when forced to pass. Djoko has his attacking direction changers, which isn’t unimportant, but less so than the errors he gives up

FH is main aggressive shot for both players. More so Alcs. He has by far match high 25 winners off that side - just 5 less than all of Djoko’s winners. Its powerful even in neutral, capable of being upped to pushing Djoko into reactive and a very able finisher

Djoko’s either been perfect in his judgement of baiting it into errors early on or lucky - this is a FH that’s quite capable of blasting the bait to kingdom cum with a flurry of winners or overpowering shots

Djoko’s FH is toned down of force. Partially because he’s using it to bait Alcs early on - and ripping FHs isn’t the way to bait someone, and like much of his game, it weakens after he tires. As with the BH though, he goes all directions with it to an extent even Alcs can’t match

Alcs 53 winners, 42 UEs vs Djoko 30 winners, 53 UEs looks like a 3, 3 & 3 job. Change the 3s to 2s, given Alcs leading freebies. Only…

Errors Forced - Djoko 44, Alcs 18

(For Alcs) having so many winners but so few errors forced usually happens for 1 of 2 reasons

a) Receiver is such a stout defender that nothing short of a winner will do to finish him off or
b) That’s just the hitters style - no half-measures in his finishing

In Alcs’ case, its b). Djoko’s defences are down for half the match and he’s liable to be beaten via moderate, wide attacking plays. Just not Alcs’ way. Would probably do him good if it were as he could further wear down an already tiring opponent

To be clear, Djoko’s never a sitting duck, letting balls by, other than maybe tanking a couple of games when down 2 breaks and he does chase and run down balls and prolongs rallies. But his movements are down in second half of match (while Alcs is anything but), and Alcs would be favoured in a dual moving-opponent-around rallies. Its not Alcs’ way - there’s not much in-between play with him. He’s solidly strong, or aggressive in the looking for winner, shot-making way. Does have ability to be overpoweringly strong from solid rallies to then take attack, often by coming to net, or using drop shot

For Djoko, the opposite with 44 errors forced to just 30 winners. With Alcs being a pain to draw errors out of because he’s so quick. Funnily, its often the milder, slightly wide and deep shots that draw these errors, with Alcs often making the get to full running shots to corners

FHs chief damage do-er for Djoko - back away inside-outs or wide cc shots in particular. BH has sheep’s share with dtl shots, though the milder longline change-ups have a hand in shaping rallies. With FH not too powerful, and against such a quick moving and big FH hitter, Djoko’s done outstandingly here to place the ball just so - testingly, teasingly, damagingly and relatively safely. And against such a good defender

Attacking UEs - Alcs 15, Djoko 14
Winner Attempt UEs - both 10

Both players more efficient in their mode aggressive ways, Djokovic by a long way in his with Alcs downright poor with the attacking UEs, considering low errors forced and a not great defensive opponent. Djoko, the exact opposite - fantastic from him

On the winners front, both doing well, Alcs a little better. Sans passes (which if a player misses doesn't yield a UE), winners read Alcs 37, Djoko 28. These numbers are more pertinent to measure against winner attempt UEs rather than the totals (Alcs 53, Djoko 30)

Alcs better, and both good in their efficiency finding the winner

Net points - Alcs 43, Djoko 61
Winning rate - Alcs 58%, Djoko 62%
Rallying to net points - Alcs 21/35 or 60%, Djoko 35/54 or 65%

Not having hitting advantage from back, getting to net to finish is good move from Djoko. He has to work his way up there - not many easy approaches set up by the serve. Alcs mixes in over-power + come in with his overpower + go for corner winner

‘Volley’ winners - Alcs 11, Djoko 13
‘Volley’ UEs - Alcs 6, Djoko 3
Volley FEs - Alcs 2, Djoko 1

Djoko being that much better on the volley, with some bad misses by Alcs. Alcs is better passer, to cut back on Djoko’s advantage when in forecourt

Passing winners - Alcs 16, Djoko 2

Well as Djoko’s done to both get to net and when he’s there, Alcs’ passed well enough to peg him back with many perfect passes. The net play goes well with Djoko’s moderate attacks and just as from the baseline, Alcs’ counter is formidable opposition

Little surprisingly, neither player doing well serve-volleying, combing for 5/12, with both players under 50%. All behind first serves

Finally, matters of clutching and choking and key points, crucial passages

Djokovic chokes across late second set and early third set. Starting with a miss from an uncharacteristic shot choice and missing simple BHs not even in short rallies, but as soon as possible. He literally misses 3 BHs in a row, without a grondstroke in between - all simple shots

Choking is an overused phrase, often used to describe normal ups and down that occur in a match. 3 routine shots in succession (+ others around the same period), in short rallies, from a shot that was rock solid coming in (and is generally very dependent) though, is a choke

Alcs has his stumble to get broken a second time to lose fourth set in a poor game. Good time to have a bad one when already down a set and finish line of set in sight. Would probably lose the set anyway

Pulls out particularly good points/shots at least twice in crucial stages. The stretched out, BH dtl return pass winner that ends the second set and defending like the dickens to hang in down break point in the fifth set. This is where Djoko could use an extra dose of Alcs’ finishing prowess from the back, but all credit to Alcs for putting 3-4 defensive balls in play, running corner to corner

Still, that ends with Djoko getting into a tangle at net and muffing a swinging volley while retreating. Followed up by getting broken missing a simple third ball FH and making a soft approach right to Alcs who gleefully knocks it away for a winner. Call it a choke or bad play. Feeling behind Djoko smashing his racquet at the end of that episode is understandable - how one might react when they feel they’ve blown it, or choked

Some high risk, perfectly executed shots at other important, but less than match-defining moments from Alcs too, like pefect drop shot winner down 0-15 having just missed a drop shot previous point in fifth set, or drop shotting Djoko in and lobbing him… shots so perfect that even down a break in 5th set, Djoko and even on the serve-out, Djoko doesn’t give chase because there’s no point

Who’s the master and who’s the silly child?

Match Progression
Fine opening set by Djoko - some good strong serves that draw errors or weak returns that he’s quick to command, some good deep returns to the baseline that throttle Alcs, the steadier BH, and pegging Alcs back, somewhat baiting aggressive errors

Bright start of a start from Alcs as he strikes as winning BH dtl and smacks a FH return cc winner in first 3 points, and Djoko missing an easy, moving forward third ball BH bring up break point. Strong serving see Djoko through to hold

Rest of set is one way traffic, with Djoko doing all the things outlined above to win next 4 games an lead 5-0. Couple of FH UEs from Alcs (including an easy one with winner chance open), and couple of cracking FHs from Djoko (1 counter-attacking FH cc winner from out of corner on run and a cc/inside-in) involved get the first break to 30. Couple good returns amidst solid returning and outlasting Alcs from the back garner the second break

Alcs isn’t far from getting bagelled. His swinging volley dribbles over net chord for a winner, Djoko’s defensive retrieving has him needing to do a lot to come away with an OH winner to reach 40-30, and he gets on the board with a great, running FH dtl passing winner

Djoko serves out to love. He’s landed 19/25 first serves for the set

That count going down opens up the contest, with Alcs also loosening up and attacking net more, captilizing on not-weak returns quickly. Alcs has better of court action and more often pushes Djoko about than other way around. Without getting rash with it

Early trade of breaks, after Alcs hold to open with a bunch of net points
Just 4/10 first serves in for Djoko as he’s broken. Commanding game from Alcs, and just 1 easy UE given up by Djoko in the game (he has 3 others that are pressured and not easy). A Djoko-like measured game from the returner
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Hall of Fame
Djoko hits right back. Bit of luck with a net chord pop over passing winner, with Alc’s well placed to otherwise dispatch the volley. Otherwise, fine defence from Djoko in running down a drop shot and on break point, resisting Alcs’ power hitting, before Alcs overreaches to miss a FH cc winner attempt

No more breaks, but good and competitive games. No more breaks, but 3 more deuce games (2 on Djoko’s serve), and he faces the only break point. Which he saves in a long rally, ending with a measured, wide BH cc that draws a makeable BH error, marked an FE

Going into tiebreak, Alcs’ has served 37 points, Djoko 43

Alcs misses BH dtl winner attempt off the bat to go down mini-break. 4 unreturned serves later, Djoko hands it missing an ‘iffy third ball BH drop shot

Things are still on serve, with Djoko down 4-5 when he’s slapped with a time violation warning. Something he’s been flirting with all match. Clock or no clock, umpires like this little move of doing nothing all set, and then handing down the warning in tiebreak or during a serve-out. Alcs works his way to net on both return points, first missing a slightly wide, but readily makeable BHV that’s been marked UE and Djoko works him over with a wide pass, before dispatching the next 1 BH inside-out to bring up set point

Djoko misses 2 routine, neutral, fourth ball BHs on next 2 points. A choke? They’re as routine enough as can be. Now he’s down set point on his serve
Good stretch by Alcs to reach the wide serve and push it down the line for a winner against surprise serve-volley from Djoko to even the match

Djoko misses a routine, neutral third ball BH on first point of third set, making 3 BHs in row he’s missed, without putting any in play (excluding 2 returns). Throw in the third ball BH drop shot error that handed back the mini, that’s 4 regulation ball BHs - 3 of entirely basic, put-ball-in-court shots - within brief interval. No guarentee he’d go onto win the late tiebreak points had he continued the rally, but fair to say he, and more specifically, his BH, chokes in this period. Missing an attacking dtl BH in short rally to get broken for 0-1 doesn’t help

Djoko starts showing signs of going off early in the third. Broken to start, and he misses couple groundies, from mild, change-of-pace shots from Alcs like a tyro. Some wicked, low slicing from Alcs, which also trouble the imprecise footwork of Djoko. Still, things are still close to even. He has 2 break points as Alcs for 3-1 and break Alcs got featured a fluke, bad bounce related winner down-the-middle of court

Turning point, the epic game 4, which lasts 32 points. Its not a particularly good game, with neither high end rallies or shots. The best of it is unflashy but impressive way Alcs returns. Some good serves in there, with 17 first serves and Alcs only misses 3 returns, just one of them a first. Djoko’s footwork is lax and he plays a number of balls away from his body

On 7th break point, Djoko misses routine, third ball FH. He’d missed a FH previous point also, after hitting a light, back-pedalling OH. Djoko more or less tanks the remaining 2 games - and its on to the fourth, with Alcs moving as well as at the start, Djoko distinctly not

Footspeed movement continues in that vein in 4th set, but Djoko tidies up his footwork and plays some of his best tennis in the match, albeit, slower around the court. Some characteristic devastating returns to the baseline, and hitting wide to be aggressive. Alcs though, remains strong too

Good, competitive games and the 2 break margin of result is unflattering to Alcs. He’s got 2 break points in his first return game and takes Djoko to deuce next go around also. Djoko does have better of things though - he’s up 0-30 in the opener, stretches Alcs to 12 points next time, before breaking in 10 point game and wrapping with another break

Nice, winning BH inside-out by Djoko to start the set before Alcs holds. Djoko’s down 15-40 game after, with Alcs whizzing about the court, but responds excellently. BH dtl and FH inside-out force errors to get back to deuce, before a FHV and a powerful, error forcing second serve see Djoko to hold

The best game is an 8 point Djoko hold for 2-2 with a number of fine rallies and shots. Djoko breaks after that with continued good action, so that the standout point in it is Alcs missing a putaway OH serve-volleying, that was probably headed out anyway. Star point for Djoko is a brilliant deep return against a wide serve that yorks Alcs near the baseline. Alcs misses a FH1/2V he had time to measure and control on break point

Another break ends the set, with Alcs double faulting twice, hitting an floaty drop volley that gets dispatched at net. Djoko pinches a point with another winning return, a BH inside-out

Fifth set time. Alcs still moving a lot better, Djoko still looking a bit tired but having played a wonderful set of tennis, while Alcs has just given up set with a poor game. Knief edge stuff - more so in light of Djoko being a master veteran with long history of clutch showings when, including when he’s weary and Alcs being so young and one would imagine, nervous (in general, he seems to have happy knack of being unaffected by pressure)

Turns out to be a good finale. Djoko with his best spot serving fo the match, but misses a few crucial, routine returns. Alcs outstanding in defence and a few perfect drop shot plays

The competitive part of the set is right at beginning. Djoko saves a break point to open, with strong serves getting him out of trouble, that some glorious passing from Alcs had put him in

Alcs is down break point in his first hold too. His a gorgeous FH drop shot winner that Djoko, up 0-15, doesn’t bother chasing because it would be a waste of time. Break point is raised off a point shaped by a return to the baseline and on it, Djoko gains attack and has Alcs running all over the place and late fending balls back in play. Djoko comes in, and Alcs uncomfortable lob reaches him awkwardly, and he nets a swinging FHV moving back

2 great shots/points after that by Alcs to hold. First is just as perfect a third ball FH drop shot winner as the earlier one, and again, Djoko doesn’t waste futile energy on it. To hold, Alcs first has to defend his way to not losing the point, before coming away with a FH dtl winner

And then he scores what turns out to be sole break to 30. Strong points from both players see the score to 30-30 before Djoko misses a routine third ball FH to bring up break point. On it, Alcs is again forced to defend, but Djoko’s approach shot is a soft one to where Alcs is, and he knocks it away BH dtl for a winner

Alcs consolidates to love with 4 unreturned first serves - 3 of them good ones, the other not bad and its 3-1
Djoko’s serve sees him hold quite comfily for rest of match. He has outline of a chance at 15-30, with Alcs serving at 3-2, but misses a routine second return

Finally, Alcs steps up to serve for the match. Misses a third ball BH drop shot on first point. Undeterred, he hits a FH one (not third ball) next point which drags Djoko to net, where he’s lobbed for a winner. Lunging BHV winner comes next, but Djoko responds with strong return + FH inside-out winner to make it 30-30

Couple of points later - a strongly forced return error and a stronlgy forced FH passing error - curtain falls. Alcs making 6/6 first serves on the serve out

Summing up, great match both for how it progresses and the tennis

Breadsticks for each player sandwiching an 8-6 tiebreak reflects a perfect turnround. Throw in Djokovic tiring but switching up to his most aggressive to take get better of next passage of play, and the backdrop of veteran vs young up and comer and that’s quite a story

Alcaraz plays a top game of hard hitting solid BHs and powerful, attacking FH play flowing out of solidity, after brief initial misjudgements in taking his opponents bait to go crazy with the FH. There’s both power and feel to his FH offense. He’s also quick as they come, apparently unaware of that its normal to tire when playing for 5 hours, defensively stout and returns superbly - especially in reading the serve and the movement for the second shot

Beyond even all that, shows great maturity in handling tricky, windy conditions, getting on with the game at all times to extent that one wouldn’t know conditions were anything out of ordinary to watch only him
Doesn’t seem to know how to attack in moderation, which would be handy in working over his opponent, but with what he’s got going on, hardly needs it

He might have needed it, because his opponent is no slouch either. Bothered by winds he can’t handle like the winner, Djokovic doesn’t serve strongly, but returns with customary, easy depth and force. He trails in hitting off both wings and consistency too. He tires and has to husband his energies for half the match

But still plays masterfully, working the ball around, working the very quick Alcaraz around court with moderate attacking wide shots and net play to cancel out his consistency handicap and hold about even

Not much in the result. Alcaraz is fitter and his physical advantage makes him more dynamic, better player in second half of match. Some choking by the loser (runs of against trend errors at bad times) and some clutching by Alcaraz (passes, shot-making and not least, not messing up with errors) nudges the win the way it goes

@tudwell - thoughts?


Bionic Poster
Alcaraz stopped the biggest breakdown in the forum's history. Also a great day though.


Hall of Fame
Alcaraz’s most intelligent match by tennis IQ, by a country mile. And that’s even with his idiocy in set 1. For his BH to at minimum match Djoker’s across a 5 set match is very impressive

As the write ups of this one and USO 23 F have noticed , Djoker’s not got the legs for a long one on elite defence anymore. I’m not sure I ever see him winning slam finals in 5 any more, think he needs quick kills or tank sets if stuff goes long

In retrospect Djoker’s approach shot to get broken in the 5th was as dumb (and poorly executed) as the famous Fedal approach shots in 2018/19, if not even more so, because Raz had 9000 yards of court to aim at. Swings and roundabouts I guess


Talk Tennis Guru
It's a match I think Djokovic let slip, especially after that terrific first set. You can't ask for a better start in a major final. He should have won with his experience but in periods played below par and then it came to those small margins in the 5th wich went Alcaraz's way. He had all the momentum going into the 5th and then makes that really bad error at BP. A loss wich could have been prevented easily, but at the same time he won major after major so at some point a big match loss was bound to happen at some point.


Talk Tennis Guru
Alcaraz’s most intelligent match by tennis IQ, by a country mile. And that’s even with his idiocy in set 1. For his BH to at minimum match Djoker’s across a 5 set match is very impressive

As the write ups of this one and USO 23 F have noticed , Djoker’s not got the legs for a long one on elite defence anymore. I’m not sure I ever see him winning slam finals in 5 any more, think he needs quick kills or tank sets if stuff goes long

In retrospect Djoker’s approach shot to get broken in the 5th was as dumb (and poorly executed) as the famous Fedal approach shots in 2018/19, if not even more so, because Raz had 9000 yards of court to aim at. Swings and roundabouts I guess
You might be very wrong about no legs. Or might be right. But basing it on this final is very wrong.

Djokovic won the fourth set 6-3 and in the fifth he was not down 6-1 or something. He was down 6-4 in the end with chances to break for himself.

Since then he has played 1 five setter and won it rather easily in the end. He had to go through many > 3 he matches in AO and won all of them until facing Sinner who is currently the best player on the planet.

So basing it on that match is probably wrong. Before this only match that went fifth was sinner Wimbledon match and Djokovic won it in 2022.


Talk Tennis Guru
As per flashscore, alcaraz hit 18 winners and only 3 UE in the fifth. Yes djokovic is not young anymore but Raz did outhit for most of the time in the fifth.

The decline in Djokovic's game is gradual. And since that final Djokovic has won USO and lost AO semis. Not looking like he slowed down much.


Talk Tennis Guru
What we can say is alcaraz blunted Djokovic's offense completely. Djokovic these days is looking for first serve advantage and Raz had one of his great returning days. Everything Djokovic hit came back. It happens..

It happened in 2013 Wimbledon final as well which Djokovic lost in 3.


Talk Tennis Guru
62% first serve pts won. It's those shots that don't need rallying a lot.

That's really bad from Djokovic and impressive from alcaraz.

On Wimbledon as a whole Djokovic has 75 75 89 90 89 77 percentage first serve pts won.

But raz cut him down by taking away first strike tennis. It's not like Djokovic was losing second serve battle. He had okaish 56% of second serve pts won. For the greatest Wimbledon champ Federer this number is many times lower than this vs Djokovic at Wimbledon.


Talk Tennis Guru
And sinner held some of the best returning numbers last year. But he only got 25% of first serve return pts while Raz got 38%.

I think it's his strategy to return from very deep but coming to baseline immidietly that blunts advantage of serve dependent players.