Novak Djokovic has congratulated Carlos Alcaraz after the Spanish youngster defeated him in the semi-final of the Madrid Open.
Djokovic took the first set in a close tie-break before the 19-year-old took the second set to force a third-set tie-break which he eventually won 6-7, 7-5, 7-6.
Alcaraz had just come off another big win, defeating Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final and has had an incredible start to the season scooping three titles already.
The world number one meanwhile has played much less tennis this year following the Australian Open debacle and the subsequent fallout which has resulted in him playing only three tournaments prior to Madrid.
After the match, Djokovic was complimentary about this young opponent, who will now reach a career high of world number six, and said the best man won.
“Congrats to him. He held his nerve very well,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference.
“For somebody of his age to play so maturely and courageously is impressive. He deserved to win.
“His kick in altitude here is huge, and it was just difficult to deal with his ball, and I wasn't feeling my return from that side. He was serving a lot of kick just to put himself in a good position.”
Despite the defeat, Djokovic was encouraged by his overall performance in Madrid, which comes straight after reaching the final in Belgrade and says it gives him hope going forward.
“I definitely played very good tennis, I mean, the best that I have played this year,” Djokovic said.
“Probably when the disappointment of losing this match passes, I will have a lot of positives to take away from this week.”
Alcaraz will now face Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open final, while Djokovic heads to Rome to complete his clay preparation ahead of Roland Garros.
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