It’s the summer mega-hit the entire sports world has wanted: Djokovic vs Alcaraz, the 2023 Wimbledon edition.

On the line:
The continuing possibility of a calendar Grand Slam for Djokovic.
The number one ranking in the world.
Grand Slam number 24 for Djokovic.
Djokovic potentially tying Roger Federer’s record of 8 Wimbledon titles.
Alcaraz’s second Grand Slam.
Pride and bragging rights in a rivalry between the two current (active, non-injured) best players, bar none.

Djokovic vs Alcaraz H2H

The Djokovic vs Alcaraz head-to-head is deadlocked at 1 apiece. By now, even the most casual tennis fans are well aware of their last meeting. Djokovic and Alcaraz met in the semifinals of the French Open when, tied at a set all, Alcaraz began cramping. Ultimately Carlitos was physically diminished as Djokovic won the match and took the 2023 Roland Garros Title.

Previous to that, Alcaraz had beaten Djokovic in a cult classic on the red clay of Madrid in 2022.

This 2023 Wimbledon will smash the head-to-head tie and end with a trophy lift in one of the most meaningful and prestigious contests in all of sports. The hype is real, and it has come to this.

Djokovic vs Alcaraz: Strategy

A fascinating phenomenon has emerged around return of serve. The ATP calculates a “Return Leaderboard” using various quality metrics. Over the last 52 weeks, the top 4 returners on the ATP Tour based on this data are as follows:


Those very players were the final four at this year’s Wimbledon. Convincingly, Alcaraz bested the second-best returner in the world in straight sets. Granted, Daniil Medvedev used a highly unusual far-back return position ill suited for grass. But it carried the Russian a long way in this tournament. To beat a quality returner like Medvedev speaks to the solidness of the Alcaraz serve (and volley) game.

What does that mean for Djokovic? Two things. Number one Novak hasn’t faced a returner the quality of Alcaraz since, probably Alcaraz. Two, Djokovic might have to do more with his second serve.

Djokovic vs Alcaraz: Intangibles

Alcaraz has one major advantage over Djokovic: Age. They are 16 years apart. Even though Djokovic says “36 is the new 26,” it has been scientifically proven that reflexes diminish with age.  Grass is a fast surface where quick reactions are a factor.

All the other intangibles belong to Novak. His mental strength, for example. He has a profound ability to dig himself out of seemingly impossible situations, including break points, set points and even match points against him. Djokovic’s tiebreak prowess is now in the record books. The 23-time-Grand Slam Champion can also use the crowd to motivate him when he needs an extra energy lift.

There’s not a person on the planet who can tell you definitively what would have happened in Djokovic vs Alcaraz during that last meeting at Roland Garros if Alcaraz had not cramped.

The “to be continued” is now.


  1. Amy, i love your role on the “Three” with Joel and Gill. There and here in your essay you bring so many interesting insights. I think one of the factors that makes Nole so extraordinarily successful on the court is his plant-based diet, which opens up the arteries, allowing better oxygenation and faster reaction times.

    I’m always amazed more commentators and fellow players don’t discuss Nole’s plant-based eating, which he adopted in mid 2010 with the help of that nutritionist who first got him off gluten. Nole has been unbelievably fit, fast and victorious ever since then, with stamina levels off the charts….

    It’s long past time that analysts and players themselves watch those veganist sports documentaries “The Game Changers” and “From the Ground Up” about so many athletes taking it to the next level by staying away from animal products — thereby not only opening up their arteries (free of atherosclerosis deposits from cholesterol) but also **reducing inflammation and toxicity** (from IGF-1, TMAO, PCBs, dioxin & DDT residues, mercury from fish, heavy metals, etc.) and achieving much better blood-flow through clean arteries and faster reaction times.

    So that’s why a vegan 36 year-old “is the new 26.”

    If Carlos Alcaraz and others, meanwhile, have been plugging up their arteries and increasing their load of toxins and inflammation since they were young by eating the “Standard American Diet” (SAD) meat/dairy-heavy European diet, they’re undermining their own health and chances for success in sports — and longevity. (On this last point, see LT Fadnes, et al., “Estimating impact of food choices on life expectancy: A modeling study” on how young adults can add 10-12 years of life on avg, and even people in their 80s can add 3-4 years on avg by going plant-based: )

  2. “The Grand Slam” not “a calender Grand Slam”. Basic stuff. The Holy Grail of tennis. Rod Laver has two of them. Majors are ho hum. Lots of players have won a Major and lots of players have won lots of Majors. But the Grand Slam, only a handful have The Grand Slam. Equally at the absolute summit of tennis, Stefi Graf has the Golden Slam. Djokovic has neither. Can he propel himself to reach the summit of tennis, let’s find out!


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