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‘World watching’ as Novak, Carlos collide

NOVAK Djokovic shoots for his eighth Wimbledon title when he battles world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the final. | SEBASTIEN BOZON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Novak Djokovic said the “world of sport” will be watching on Sunday when he faces Carlos Alcaraz in a Wimbledon final where history and potentially a generational shift are on the line.

Djokovic is attempting to match Roger Federer’s record of eight titles at the All England Club and match Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24 Grand Slam crowns.

Having already pocketed the Australian Open and French Open in 2023, a victory will put the 36-year-old just one major away from completing the first men’s calendar Grand Slam since 1969.

“It’s the ultimate showdown,” said Djokovic, who will be playing in a record 35th Grand Slam final.

“Everything comes down to one match. All eyes of the tennis and sports world will be directed on this Sunday’s Wimbledon final. It’s probably the most watched tennis match globally.”

At 20, Alcaraz is Djokovic’s junior by 16 years.

When Djokovic captured the first of his 23 majors at the 2008 Australian Open, the Spaniard was still three months shy of his fifth birthday.

Djokovic can become Wimbledon’s oldest champion while Alcaraz is bidding to be its third youngest after Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg.

“I obviously have more experience. It can help a little bit in some important moments, beginning the match, managing the nerves, managing the occasion, circumstances,” Djokovic said.

“But it’s not going to be the deciding factor really. Whoever, on a given day, is in a better state, mentally and physically, will be the winner.”

Djokovic won the mind games when the pair clashed in the French Open semifinals in June.

Alcaraz suffered body cramping, a physical ailment brought on, he freely admitted, just by the sight of Djokovic on the other side of the net.

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