By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Wimbledon—World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz arrived at SW19 with a clear mission: Win Wimbledon.
After falling to the top-seeded Spaniard on Monday, Matteo Berrettini compared Alcaraz’s return game to seven-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.
In a clash of the reigning and former Queen’s Club champions, Alcaraz converted four of 16 break points beating Berrettini 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.
Though the 6’2″ Djokovic is two inches taller than the 20-year-old Spaniard and owns a more expansive reach, Berrettini says Alcaraz’s rapid reaction time, fast hands and skill stepping in taking second serves on the rise are all reminiscent of 23-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic.
“I think his reaction times are unbelivable,” Berrettini said. “He goes with a slice on the first serve. When he does, he has a great feel, great hands. It’s always tough. You know the first shot, you have to be precise, because he likes to play in defense.
“That’s the tricky part. He’s staying so close on the second serve. Doesn’t matter if you mix it up, he’s always finding the right time.
“Reminds me of Novak a little bit, this kind of like reflex, time of reaction. Like a server, I feel this. But I also feel when I found the right rhythm, he didn’t like that.”
Hall of Famer Andre Agassi, widely regarded as the top returner of his generation, has called Djokovic the best returner ever.
Photo credit: Rob Newell/CameraSport