French Open: Carlos Alcaraz says stress of facing Novak Djokovic caused cramping in semifinal defeat

Carlos Alcaraz, the world’s top-ranked player, revealed that the stress of facing 22-time major champion Novak Djokovic played a significant role in the full-body cramps that ultimately hindered his chances of victory in their thrilling French Open semi-final clash.

The 20-year-old Spaniard experienced cramping early in the third set as Djokovic, 36, went on to secure a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Acknowledging the immense challenge of competing against Djokovic, Alcaraz stated, “It is not easy to play against Novak; he is a legend of our sport. It has been really tough for me. I have never felt tension like I did in that match.”

Facing Djokovic for only the second time and their first encounter at a Grand Slam event, Alcaraz emphasized the nerves and pressure he experienced throughout the match. He admitted, “If someone says he goes onto the court with no nerves playing against Novak, he lies. The tension of the match was why the cramping happened. I started the match really nervous.”

Djokovic, empathizing with Alcaraz’s situation, acknowledged that he had also encountered similar experiences in his earlier years. He commented, “It is part of the learning curve. It is part of the experience. He’s only 20; he’s got plenty of time. He has shown so much maturity in the last couple of years. His career will be very successful if he manages to keep healthy because the game is there.”

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