An Ace Finally Beats A Joker

For the second time this year, a new king was crowned in London.   But the site of this coronation was Wimbledon, and the recipient received a trophy. not a scepter.  In the world of tennis, this was arguably an even more significant event than King Chuck’s ascension.

As PA MEDIA’s Eleanor Crooks observed:

The narrative surrounding men’s tennis changed in the split second it took for Novak Djokovic’s final forehand to hit the Centre Court net and fall to the grass.

A season that looked set to see the Serbian smash the records he has not yet claimed – a first calendar Grand Slam, an unprecedented 25th major singles title – instead has been turned on its head thanks to the brilliance of 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz.

In nearly five hours of spell-binding sporting theatre, the momentum fluctuated several times but in the end it was Alcaraz who seized his chance in a final game that demonstrated everything that makes the Spaniard such a special talent.

And as CNN observed this morning, the victory was as much for an entire generation as it was for Alcaraz:

For years, tennis’ so-called ‘Next Gen’ stars have tried and largely failed to topple the sport’s ‘Big Three’ of Roger FedererRafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka winning consecutive grand slams – Wimbledon then the US Open – in 2016 and Carlos Alcaraz’s 2022 US Open victory, only Daniil Medvedev won a grand slam title, the 2021 US Open, in which one of the ‘Big Three’ was beaten during the tournament.

And indeed, it was only Djokovic’s refusal to take a COVID-19 vaccine and the U.S. Open’s denial of his participation that prevented him from participating in Flushing last year, opening the door for Alcaraz’s run.  Which sets up the potentially for a really intriguing rematch between these two gladiators of the baselines.

In his remarks following yesterday’s win, Alcaraz’s candor proved he is more than capable of stepping up his game as a rival worthy of rivaling the tone and determination that has defined Djokovic.  As CNN reported:

I did it for myself, not for [the next] tennis generation, honestly,” Alcaraz told reporters after the final. “It was great. Beating Novak at his best, in this stage, making history, being the guy to beat him after 10 years unbeaten on that court, is amazing for me.

It’s something that I will never forget, that’s for sure. It’s great for the new generation as well, I think to see me beating him and making them think that they are capable of doing it. It’s great for me and I think for the young players as well.”

For a sport desperately in need of new blood, particularly with attitude, Alcaraz has now proven that he is more than capable of rising to the occasion at the sport’s most attention-grabbing venues.

So hail the new king of Wimbledon.  And be ready for the possibility of the biggest showdown in Flushing in decades,


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