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Carlos Alcaraz becomes sixth player to defeat Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam final
He's only the second to pull off the feat with a Wimbledon title on the line, following his 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory on Sunday.
Published Jul 16, 2023
Before Sunday, the last time a male singles player not named Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray won Wimbledon was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. Over time, it required a competitor born after the Australian’s triumph to break up the band’s streak.
Carlos Alcaraz, who entered this world on May 5, 2003, put an end to the quartet's dominance at the grass-court major when he outlasted Djokovic, 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, after four hours and 43 minutes to add to his 2022 US Open breakthrough title.
With the win, Alcaraz became the sixth player to get the better of the Serbian in a Grand Slam final and just the second with a Wimbledon trophy at stake. The membership list:
The Swiss had the advantage of experience on his side when meeting Djokovic in the Belgrade native’s major final debut. Federer would take their 2007 US Open clash in straight sets for his fourth successive trophy at Flushing Meadows, though was unable to come out on the winning end of their remaining four major final encounters—including three at the All England Club.
Fellow Big 3 rival Nadal claimed their first tussle with a piece of Grand Slam hardware on the line at the 2010 US Open. Nadal would add a second triumph over Djokovic in New York three years later and his 3-0 mark in Roland Garros finals has propelled him to a narrow 5-4 edge overall in these match situations. During a sizzling tear, Djokovic claimed three straight major finals over the Spaniard (2011 Wimbledon, 2011 US Open, 2012 Australian Open).
Born a week prior to Djokovic, the Brit ended two droughts for his nation by virtue of stopping his longtime rival. First came a tense five-set win to join the major winner’s club at the 2012 US Open, followed by an emotional three-set victory at 2013 Wimbledon. Djokovic won their other five Grand Slam title matches, including all four at the Australian Open.
The Swiss has endured a lopsided 6-21 head-to-head record against Djokovic over his career. Despite that, Wawrinka stepped up in grand fashion by outfoxing Djokovic en route to all three of his major crowns. Two of those occurred in championship clashes, at 2015 Roland Garros and the 2016 US Open in seasons where Djokovic combined to win 18 titles.
When Djokovic arrived at the 2021 US Open, all pressure rested on his shoulders as he attempted to become the first man in the Open Era to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam. Medvedev, having lost to the Serb in that year’s Australian Open final, prevented Djokovic from seeing through his history-making bid with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win.
No one had defeated Djokovic on Centre Court in more than 10 years. In the early goings of the 2023 Wimbledon final, it appeared that trend was well on its way to continuing when the seven-time event winner raced to the first set. But Alcaraz showed poise beyond his years to emerge victorious in a gripping five-set war that included taking an astonishing 32-point, 27-minute game in set three.