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Alcaraz the Wimbledon champion after going five sets against Djokovic

Wimbledon ended in style on Sunday afternoon. Not only was it No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the men’s singles final, but it also lived up to the hype.

And that’s an understatement.

Carlos Alcaraz outlasted Novak Djokovic 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in a four-hour and 43-minute slugfest that featured an 85-minute second set and a 26-minute game in the third set. In the end, Alcaraz triumphed at the All-England Club for the first time in his career.

Everyone expected that the Spaniard would win Wimbledon at some point. No one–not even Alcaraz, himself–anticipated it coming this soon. After all, at 20 years old was playing only his fourth-ever grass-court tournament.

“(It) feels great,” he would say afterward. “It’s a dream come true for me, being a Wimbledon champion; something that I really wanted. Honestly, I didn’t expect to get it really soon. Right now (it) is the happiest moment of my life, that’s for sure. Probably in five years will change. Right now, I’m 20, I didn’t live too many situations like this, so I’m going to enjoy this moment.

“Beating Novak, winning (the) Wimbledon championship is something that I dream about since I [started playing] tennis. That’s why is the biggest moment of my life.”

Alcaraz is right on the money that beating this particular opponent made it even more special. Djokovic was the four-time defending champion (seven Wimbledon titles overall) and wins earlier this season in Melbourne and Paris gave him the all-time lead in men’s singles slam titles (23) and put him halfway to the calendar-year Grand Slam.

Djokovic most definitely did come close to making more history on Sunday.

The 36-year-old dominated the first set and then led 3-0 in the second-set tiebreaker. He even had a set point in the second but could not convert at 6-5 in the ‘breaker and eventually lost it. The rest of the way Alcaraz mostly had the upper hand, although Djokovic was not without opportunities. After losing the third and winning the fourth, the world No. 2 earned a break point in the second game of the decider. However, he couldn’t take his chance and after that he lost his serve at 1-1. Alcaraz served it out from there.

“Credit to Carlos,” Djokovic said. “Amazing poise in the important moments. For someone of his age to handle the nerves like this, be playing attacking tennis, and to close out the match the way he did…. I thought I returned very well that last game, but he was just coming up with some amazing, amazing shots.”

Alcaraz came up with arguably the shot of the match at 15-all in the final game with a backhand volley winner after Djokovic struck what looked to be a backhand passing shot winner of his own.

“Probably that I’m really capable of doing the things that I did today,” Alcaraz said when asked what he learned about himself from this performance. “Probably before this match, I thought that I wasn’t ready to beat Djokovic in five sets, an epic match like this–stay good physically or good mentally about five hours against a legend. Probably I learned today about myself today.

“Before this match, I thought I can’t beat Novak. That’s obvious. But after this epic match, let’s say, yeah, I think different. Probably it changes my mind a little bit after this match.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.