Novak Djokovic almost survived a scare on Friday when Laslo Djere went two sets up in their third-round match in the Arthur Ashe Stadium. For the first 90 minutes of the clash, Djere held the cards with extended rallies, fearless tennis and heavy-hitting from the baseline which left Djokovic off balance in the first two sets. But once the three-time champion broke serve for the first time at 1-0 in the third set, there was no coming back. It remained Djere’s match to lose and he eventually succumbed at the end of three hours and 45 minutes with Djokovic winning 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.
On Saturday, after Carlos Alcaraz, the defending champion, made to through to the pre-quarters with a hard-fought performance against British Daniel Evans, he dropped a stellar remark on the 36-year-old.
“I watched the first two sets because I had to go to sleep. I went to bed knowing that Novak would turn it around, without a doubt. He’s shown once again that he’s one of the best ever. He’s done that six or seven times, that I’ve seen. He’s unbelievable. He’s 36 but still doing those things like he’s 20. We have to give him the credit “I admire him for that,” he said.
Earlier this week, Alcaraz had lost his world No. 1 ranking after Djokovic won his opening match in the 2023 US Open campaign. It guaranteed the Serb that irrespective of the results thereafter, he is slated to officially rise to the top spot in the ATP rankings chart post the final in New York.
Alcaraz later sent a warning to the Serb saying that while he was aware of the inevitable, he revealed that he wants to climb back on top as quickly as possible after the final Grand Slam of the calendar year and end the year as the world No. 1 for the second straight time in his career.
“Right now, it’s a goal for me,” Alcaraz stated. “I said before that Novak and I are having a really good battle for No. 1. I knew he’d recover No. 1 after the US Open. When the tournament is over, I’ll try to recover it ASAP. That’s my goal. I’m working for that. I’ll try to recover it before the year ends.”