Novak Djokovic says he will 'keep going' after US Open win
Novak Djokovic has jumped to the defence of Carlos Alcaraz after he pulled out of representing Spain at the Davis Cup. The world No 1 withdrew from participating in the tournament in his home nation this week and was replaced by Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the Spain squad, with Djokovic giving his backing to his Grand Slam rival despite admitting he was disappointed not to be facing him.
Alcaraz looked exhausted after he was beaten in defending his US Open title in the semi-final by Daniil Medvedev, denying him another mouthwatering final against Djokovic. And the 36-year-old claimed his 24th Grand Slam by seeing off the Russian in straight sets last Sunday at Flushing Meadows.
Not long after his defeat, Alcaraz explained his decision to pull out of the Davis Cup after a long year in which the 20-year-old played 65 matches on the ATP Tour, winning 58 of them.
“I was really looking forward to playing for Spain at the Davis Cup in Valencia, but I have to listen to my body after a very long tour,” Alcaraz wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
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There was understandable disappointment that Spain’s new poster boy for tennis had decided not to participate. But Djokovic took a more reasoned approach, accepting the rigours of a congested tennis schedule – in addition to Alcaraz’s new-found fame – can take its toll on the youngster.
“I also haven’t played the whole 20 years of my career for Serbia,” Djokovic told Davis Cup press, as quoted by The Tennis Letter. “It’s normal seeing years where you play a lot of individual events where you feel tired, you feel a lot of things about your career. Also your private life… it’s normal skipping a competition.
“I feel the need to protect and defend Carlos, and all players, because I know what it feels like. It’s normal. Being 20 years old, he has a lot of time to represent his country.”
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Djokovic, who was beaten by Alcaraz in a thrilling five-set Wimbledon final back in July, exacted his revenge at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati in the warm-up tournament for the US Open with a 7-5, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (4) success.
“The truth is that I expected to play against Carlos here in Valencia,” Djokovic told reporters earlier this week. “He is a player who I respect a lot. Whenever I have faced him they have been very hard matches, he is an incredible person and player.
“First with Rafa, now with Alcaraz, Spain has a great tradition in tennis. But hey, I’m from Serbia and these days I’m going to do everything possible to beat Spain.”
Djokovic inspired Serbia to victory against Spain to qualify for the quarter-finals after overcoming Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-3 6-4 in Valencia on Friday. They will next head to Malaga for the knockout rounds that take place in November.
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