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Novak Djokovic rued his missed opportunities after losing a thrilling final at Wimbledon in 2023

<p>Regrets? With two is Novak Djokovic.</p>
<p>In the Wimbledon final on Sunday, there was that tiebreaker quite early on when the 36-year-old Serb was one point away from leading his 20-year-old rival, Carlos Alcaraz, by two sets to none.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-82003″ src=”” alt=”” width=”1489″ height=”991″ srcset=” 275w,×100.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1489px) 100vw, 1489px” /><br />
Then there was the dropped volley on break point early in the fifth set, when the seven-time Wimbledon winner had all the momentum.</p>
<p>“Some regrets,” Djokovic stated after losing the final match on Centre Court by the scores of 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1, 3-6, and 6-4. “I had my opportunities. I believe I could have done a better job of winning the second-set tiebreaker. But kudos to him for battling and displaying outstanding defensive abilities, as well as for making passes that led to his break in the fifth.</p>
<p>Without a question, he deserved to win today.</p>
<p>In the past, Djokovic has won so many matches deservingly. He won seven of those matches right here at the All England Club, where he was one win away from tying Roger Federer’s men’s record of eight grass-court Grand Slam victories. Additionally, Serena Williams and I both won major titles 23 times in total throughout the Open era, which started in 1968.</p>
<p>For instance, in 2019, Djokovic was the reigning champion while Federer was vying for his ninth Wimbledon victory. In the fifth set, Federer had two match chances, but Djokovic saved them both, forced a tiebreaker at 12–12, and then dominated to win his fifth title.</p>
<p>During his on-court interview before to the trophy presentation, Djokovic had already addressed those match points. “I’ve won some epic finals that I was very close to losing,” he said. To lose a match like this for me here, I suppose, is sort of a fair-and-square bargain.</p>
<p>On a windy day, the two players breezed through the first set. In the second set, before the decisive tiebreaker, they exchanged breaks of service.</p>
<p>With a 3-0 lead and 15 tiebreaker victories in Grand Slam matches under his belt, things were looking well for the four-time reigning champion. Alcaraz, though, won three consecutive points, including an ace at 109 mph, to tie the score. Then, with Alcaraz serving at 6-5 and Djokovic having a set point, he sent a backhand into the net. after which another.</p>
<p>To be honest, my backhands sort of let me down, admitted Djokovic. “Set point, the backhand eluded me. He did execute a backhand with a rather poor bounce that was pretty far in the court. But the shot was one I shouldn’t have missed.</p>
<p>“On 6-all, I hit another backhand into the net from the center of the court. Just two really bad backhands. I’m done now. His team gained momentum throughout the game. It made a U-turn.</p>
<p>Over the years, Djokovic hasn’t missed many of those shots. His injuries forced him to quit from his quarterfinal encounter in the second set back in 2017, which was also his last defeat at Wimbledon. In 2013, he lost to Andy Murray in the championship match on Centre Court.</p>
<p>Alcaraz remarked, “Being the guy to beat him after 10 years unbeaten on that court, making history, is amazing for me. Beating Novak at his best, in this stage.”</p>
<p>That additional issue Djokovic brought up? A second regret? The fact that this man had built a career out of making shot after shot while waiting for his opponents to make mistakes made that miss all the more unexpected.</p>
<p>In the second game of the third set, Alcaraz was serving, and Djokovic had what seemed to be an easy volley to break for a 2-0 lead—the type of lead he doesn’t often give up. Alcaraz was able to recover because his forehand went into the top of the net as opposed to over it. The Spaniard broke in the very next game, giving him the advantage he needed to win his second major championship after last year’s U.S. Open victory.</p>
<p>Midway through the fourth (set), I was able to gather myself and retake the initiative, Djokovic said. “I sensed a change of momentum in my favor. I had my opportunity there. I had my chance then. I believe I played a pretty strong game on that break point, which helped to set up the driving volley.</p>
<p>“Today was a really windy day. The wind did take it in a little strange direction, so I had to hit the drive volley while sort of falling back instead of the smash. I noticed him precisely as he ran to the other corner. With the drive volley, I was kind of trying to catch him off guard, but I failed.</p>

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