Carlos Alcaraz has admitted that he got 'lucky' that Novak Djokovic was unable to compete for the US Open title.
Djokovic was prevented from entering the US due to his decision to remain unvaccinated against Covid-19.
That, along with Rafael Nadal's injuries this season, opened the door for someone to make a Grand Slam breakthrough in New York. The early exit of defending champion and top seed Daniil Medvedev made that opportunity even bigger.
In the end it was Alcaraz who emerged from a new-look semi-final line-up that also included Casper Ruud, Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe to win a maiden major.
And, despite not wanting to take anything away from his achievement, he was also humble enough to acknowledge the opportunity that Djokovic's absence created.
“Look, I don’t want to take credit away from myself,” Alcaraz The New York Times after the US Open, "but it’s true that Rafa, Djokovic, Federer, they were in a period when they were all playing.
"I had the luck or whatever you want to call it that Djokovic could not play. Everybody has their reasons, but that is the reality.
"He could not play much for a while, and Rafa kept playing but not all year, either. But like I said, I don’t want to take credit away from myself.
"I have been playing all season, playing incredible matches and incredible tournaments, and I’ve worked really hard so that things like this could happen.”
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