Ferrero On Alcaraz-Djokovic: ‘We’re Expecting An Extremely Tough Match’
Editor’s note: This story was translated from ATPTour.com/es.
With a two-day break before facing Novak Djokovic on Friday in the semi-finals at Roland Garros, Carlos Alcaraz practised for 45 minutes with one eye on his clash with the Serbian, but mainly focusing on giving his body some oxygen after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.
In the company of his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the World No. 1 completed his training session and then spent almost half an hour signing autographs and taking photos with the fans that had turned out to watch him practise. Earlier, Ferrero spoke about the encounter with Djokovic.
“It’s very good that he’s looking forward to the match,” Ferrero said. “Often you can get nervous and try to put certain situations off because of the difficulties that may be entailed. Looking forward to it is positive. Over these two days he’ll try to relax, recover a bit and get to 100%. As always, he needs to be mentally fresh. Nothing more.”
That was exactly what Alcaraz did on Wednesday; rest, practise and disconnect in the afternoon, taking the opportunity to recover physically and mentally before taking on this huge challenge.
“Novak is one of the best of all time,” Ferrero reiterated. “Obviously he’s going to make a match of it. These types of players find solutions where others don’t. He will study the match, he knows how Carlos plays and he will come out with a tactic to compete. In terms of attitude, I don’t think he will give in at any point. Carlos’ speed is very, very good. If he can maintain that and dominate the match, he will have his chances to come out on top. Djokovic has shown a million times that he is capable of turning impossible matches around. We’re expecting an extremely tough match.”
SF Preview: Alcaraz vs. Djokovic In Clash For The Ages
Alcaraz and Djokovic have only crossed swords once before, at last year’s Mutua Madrid Open, where the Spaniard took the spoils after a third-set tiebreak.
“He’s improving every year”, said Ferrero. “Playing in these kinds of matches makes you mature very quickly. Every time a match like this comes along, he has to be unfazed and go for it. We’re happy to be able to have another experience against one of the best in history. Win or lose, I’m sure it will make him grow. It will be positive. Often, you learn more from the defeats than you do from victories.”
Without Rafael Nadal in the tournament, Djokovic is surely the biggest challenge anyone can face in Paris. The Serbian will be even more dangerous since he is bidding to become the player with the most major titles in history. He currently sits alongside Rafael Nadal, with 22 apiece.
“We’re doing very well on clay and he’s been doing very well for 20 years,” acknowledged Ferrero. “It’s not the time to pick a favourite. They’re both in great form. Novak is battling to make history and Carlos to reach his second Grand Slam final. They are different goals, but very important ones for both of them.
“Djokovic’s game has everything. He often grows into it, and by the end of the tournament he is playing very well. We’re expecting his A-game. We’ve seen so many times how well he can play when that’s the case,” said Ferrero, who is also aware of just how far Alcaraz can go.
“I’ve been with him for five years and I know how good he can be,” explained the No. 1’s coach. “The most impressive thing is that he produces that level at the most important times and against the best. He’s progressed very quickly. He’s ready to do great things in tennis. Carlos dreams big and believes he can beat anyone. It’s clear that he believes in himself.
”We have to have great belief in him, but getting ahead of ourselves is a mistake for everyone. We will believe in the real possibility of winning if he gets to the final, before then is too soon.”