Novak Djokovic takes on Carlos Alcaraz in perhaps the most anticipated Wimbledon final in years. But who will emerge victorious, the young pretender, or the man in search of his eighth Wimbledon crown?
If at the start of Wimbledon 2023 you were to pick the two players whom you wanted to compete for the Wimbledon title, I’m not sure too many people would have said anyone other than Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic.
The top two seeds will battle it out in a colossal match on the finest court of all later today, with Alcaraz looking to end Djokovic’s ten year undefeated run on Centre Court.
Both players looked immensely impressive in their semi-finals, but Alcaraz’s performance in particular impressed me, beating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.
The Spaniard looked fantastic all around the court, with his coverage of the net looking increasingly impressive as the tournament has gone on.
This may be something that Alcaraz looks to use to shorten points against Djokovic, this will be the key for Alcaraz's success.
It is important that Alcaraz learns from his previous match against Djokovic, the semi-finals of the French Open, where he let the occasion get the better of him and suffered from extreme cramp in his calf, brought on by the stress and adrenaline of playing Djokovic.
Alcaraz has the power to trouble the seven time champion, often hitting forehand winners surpassing 100mph, but will also have to be at his mental best if he is to triumph later today.
Djokovic has proven over the course of the tournament that he doesn’t have to play his best tennis to win matches. His mentality has always been his biggest weapon, and the Serb has often shown an unwillingness to even entertain the idea of losing a match.
He will again look to tire the young Alcaraz and perhaps hope that the occasion once again gets to him.
At some point in the match Alcaraz will get chances, it is key that he takes them. Jannik Sinner had opportunities to break Djokovic in every set, (each set won by Djokovic via one break) but failed to capitalise on any of them.
Alcaraz has to make sure he creates pressure on Djokovic and doesn't let the chances slip away like Sinner did.
You can see it on the faces of a number of the young players who play Djokovic, they are beaten before they even step onto the court, intimidated by the man’s greatness. Alcaraz can not allow this to happen. For him it is an opportunity to fully kick into gear his attempt to be considered one of the greatest ever and he can not allow Djokovic to intimidate him.
Both players styles mould together so exceptionally that this match has classic written all over it.
If Alcaraz is able to get past the occasion and play his best tennis then he may well triumph, but Djokovic has looked close to unbeatable this year. It promises to be an absolute barn stormer, but I think Djokovic’s victory has looked inevitable since he stepped onto court two weeks ago.