World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz recovered from dropping the first set and saving a set point in the second to win 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 after four hours and 42 minutes on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Sunday.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Alcaraz said. “It’s great to win, but even if I would have lost, I would have been really proud of myself.”
The result has sparked talk of a possible generational shift in men’s tennis, with the 36-year-old Novak Djokovic being the last of the “Big Three” still standing following the retirement of Roger Federer — and Rafael Nadal sidelined by injury, possibly permanently.
The difference in age was not lost on Alcaraz.
“I started playing tennis watching you. Since I was born you were already winning tournaments,” he said in on-court in comments directed at Djokovic. “It is amazing.”
Djokovic, who won this year’s Australian and French Opens, had been hoping to equal Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles and match Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24 Grand Slams.
The defeat was the Serbian’s first on Wimbledon’s Centre Court since 2013. The loss in a record 35th major final also ended his bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam.
“Praise to Carlos. What quality at the end of the match. You deserve it absolutely,” Djokovic said in the on-court interview.
“You never like to lose matches like these… It’s a tough one to swallow, when you are so close, but these are the moments you work for every day. I didn’t win but lost against the better player.”
At 20 years and two months, Alcaraz became the third-youngest Wimbledon champion in the Open Era, which started in 1968, behind Boris Becker(17) and Björn Borg (20 years and one month). The win means he retained the No. 1 ranking on the men’s side – ahead of Djokovic.
Vondrousova makes history on women’s side
Alvarez’ win comes a day after a bit of history was made on the women’s side, when Marketa Vondrousova became the first unseeded woman to win the tournament in the Open era. The Czech powered to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Tunisian sixth seed Ons Jabeur.
This marks an unexpected maiden Grand Slam title for the 24-year-old Vondrousova, although she previously came close with a loss to Ash Barty in the 2019 French Open final.