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Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic to Meet in French Open Semifinals


That shouldn’t be accidental. He almost never drinks alcohol. He tries to sleep eight and a half hours an evening, with a give attention to his prime R.E.M. sleep hours. His postmatch gym and stretching routine sometimes looks as hard as a traditional person’s workout.

It is usually difficult to argue that there’s a sounder, more developed brain in tennis. Djokovic way back redrew the angles of the sport, finding recent shots to hit and recent ways to win matches and titles, becoming the world’s top-ranked player in an era when Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray were making that as hard because it had ever been. Today, he alters the pace and rhythm of points with ease, like a baseball pitcher mixing in fastballs, curveballs, sinkers and changeups in every at-bat. After which he uses a serve-and-volley like a player from the Nineteen Eighties, simply to be certain that everyone knows he can try this, too.

He has spent years trading notes on mental fortitude with superstar athletes in tennis and other sports — Boris Becker, Kobe Bryant, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to call just a few. He meditates. He knows tips on how to focus when he needs to love nobody else. He has played five tiebreakers on this tournament without making an unforced error.

Approaching his forty fifth Grand Slam semifinal, Djokovic has grow to be a master of the five-set format, its almost inevitable emotional dips and swings. He seems to spend the primary set gathering details about his opponent. If he loses that set, as he did within the last two Wimbledon finals, and even the following one, no big deal. There’s still loads of time.

“He’s at all times there, you understand, he’s at all times pushing,” Khachanov said. “He at all times tries to search out a way.”

Whether that may work against Alcaraz is Friday’s great mystery. Alcaraz has to this point shown so most of the advantages of youth — speed, strength, power, the optimism of a player who has scarcely any bad days — and so few of the pitfalls. He plays with a sort of limitless joy and freedom that other players struggle to grasp, in the identical way they struggle to handle the rate of his forehand and his unmatched improvisational shotmaking.

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