Carlos Alcaraz may have seen his 2023 French Open hopes fade away after he lost to Novak Djokovic having suffered from cramps in their semi-final, but his miracle shot will be remembered for years to come.
For Eurosport experts Tim Henman and Mats Wilander, it was hard to comprehend, while the pair also turned their attention to why Alcaraz was not able to live with Djokovic physically when he eventually suffered from cramp in the gruelling clash.
“This shot is an absolute joke!” Henman told Eurosport after watching the miraculous effort back.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s the best mover I’ve ever seen on a tennis court because he has the speed and the balance and the dexterity to be able to hit that shot, facing the wrong way, and find the court.
“Having said that, it’s something he has to work on [fitness and conditioning]. This will be a tough loss in the semis of a Slam, but to lose in these circumstances, his whole team will go back to the drawing board ready to assess.
“It was about Djokovic fighting fire with fire. It was incredibly impressive, and from that physical point of view, those first two sets were massively demanding.
“Djokovic has so much experience. Yes, he knew it would be hard work, but there was no panic at the beginning of the third set, and that’s where Alcaraz broke down.
“If you analyse the match, it was two hours, 10 minutes. That’s not long, so to be cramping, it’s a mental thing.”
‘Absolute joke!’ – Alcaraz miracle shot stuns Henman and Wilander
Wilander added: “It [the cramp] is caused by Novak only. The difference between how Novak moves around, even when he’s exhausted, compared to Carlos, there’s a huge difference.
“I’ve never seen this from Carlos, so he exposed a weakness in Carlos Alcaraz. It’s stress-related, 100%.
“I think there was tension and stress, for sure. I haven’t heard him cramping before, I can’t imagine he’s not had a great preparation, so I think there was stress, for sure.
“Carlos Alcaraz ran an average of 20 metres [per point] up to his cramping. They played 155 points, that’s 3,000 metres, that’s 30 x 100m sprints in two hours. He’s not walking, he’s sprinting for everything.
“Novak is smoother and Carlos might not read the game as well and has taken way more steps.”
Alcaraz v Djokovic – French Open highlights
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