New world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz insisted Novak Djokovic is still the red-hot Wimbledon favourite in the wake of his own maiden grass court title at Queen’s.
Alcaraz beat Alex de Minaur 6-4 6-4 to cap a remarkable week for the Spaniard that has seen his game on this surface take visible leaps forward.
The Spaniard revealed at the start of the week that he had low expectations for his time in West London but he now feels at the level required to challenge for the title in SW19.
Against De Minaur, who lists grass as his favourite surface, Alcaraz showed glimpses of his powerful and ruthless best, saving two crucial break points midway through the first set before immediately taking the sole opportunity offered up to him the very next game.
It was enough for the 20-year-old to take control of the contest, with victory elevating him back to the top of the rankings pile ahead of the season’s third Grand Slam, though he was under no illusions as to scale of the challenge posed by seven-time champion Djokovic.
He said: “It is an amazing run for me this week, I played an amazing level at the end of the week. Seeing my name in a trophy means a lot so I am going to keep that memory for the rest of my life.
“I have quite a lot of confidence heading into Wimbledon. I ended the week playing at a high level so right now I feel one of the favourites to win Wimbledon, but I have to get more experience on grass.
“I have played just 11 matches on grass, so I need to get more experience. But after beating amazing guys and the level that I played, I consider myself one of the players able to win Wimbledon.
“Novak is the main favourite to win Wimbledon, but I will try to play at this level to have chances to beat him or make the final.
“I saw a statistic that Novak has won more matches at Wimbledon than the other top 20 players [combined]. What can you say about that?
“A lot of players are coming with confidence, there are a lot of great players playing on grass so I need to go to Wimbledon playing my best, but I see Novak as the main favourite.”
One factor Alcaraz hopes to have on his side is the crowd, with the Queen’s faithful fully behind the Spaniard throughout a week that also saw him despatch former champion Grigor Dimitrov and big-serving American Sebastian Korda.
Indeed, with consistent shouts of ‘Vamos Carlitos’ from the crowd along with a smattering of Spanish flags and the relentless 30-degree heat, it could well have been Alcaraz’s native Spain rather than London.
Alcaraz revealed the support made a big difference throughout the tournament and he hopes it continues as he sets out to achieve a long-held goal of becoming Wimbledon champion.
“I see Wimbledon as the most beautiful tournament on the Tour, it is a tournament I really want to win some day,” he added.
“Preparing for Wimbledon as I did this week is so special for me and I have a lot of confidence to make that dream possible this year.
“I felt the love from the people since day one. It is really important at Wimbledon to feel the same love and energy that I felt this week. I hope it will help me to get through the rounds at Wimbledon.
“I saw that Djokovic has never lost a match on Centre Court since 2013 when he lost against Andy [Murray] so it’s ten years without losing a match on centre court, it’s crazy.
“But I hope to have the crowd behind me to change that stat.”
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