Carlos Alcaraz said he hoped to re-ignite his rivalry with world number one Novak Djokovic at the Italian Open, where the pair can meet for the first time this year, if they both reach the final.
They have been kept apart by injuries to both and the absence of 22-times Grand Slam champion Djokovic from the U.S. hardcourt swing earlier in the season due to being unvaccinated for COVID-19.
Alcaraz will leapfrog Djokovic into top spot in the world rankings after the Rome tournament and the 20-year-old Spaniard is eager to test himself against one of the game’s greats.The video player is currently playing an ad. You can skip the ad in 5 sec with a mouse or keyboard 00:26 Uncertainty clouds U.S. transition at Mexico border
“Being in the same tournament Novak is in is great, having him here and learning from him,” said Alcaraz, who begins his Rome campaign on Saturday against Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
“It’s always good having the best tennis players in the world in the tournament. I hope to meet him in the final.
“I always say that as a tennis fan I want to see the best players in the world, to watch them, learn from them, because you have to learn from everyone.
“It’s great to share the tournament.”
Alcaraz, who beat Djokovic in three sets in the Madrid semi-finals last year in their first meeting, said his biggest rival was still himself.
“It’s not only for me, it’s for everyone,” Alcaraz added. “You have to control yourself, your emotions first, then play against the opponent.
“You have to choose the correct (tactics and shots) in every moment. That’s really tough because we have just seconds before hitting the ball. It’s not just for me, it’s for everyone.”