March 26, 2023

Djokovic: Rune Has a Better Backhand, Alcaraz Has a Better Forehand

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday, November 6, 2022

Novak Djokovic knows a thing or two about the two talented teenagers that will be populating the top-10 on Monday when the new ATP rankings are released.

Tennis Express

The 35-year-old has faced each of them once in 2022, and lost both times from a set down. He fell to Alcaraz in the semifinals at Madrid, 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5), and fell to Rune on Sunday in Paris in a dramatic final, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

After the final he was asked to break down the similarities and difference of the two talents.

“They are similar in terms of physicality,” Djokovic said. “I think they are both really fit. They train very hard. They are very dedicated guys. They defend, both of them, extremely well.”

In Monday’s ATP rankings Alcaraz, ranked No.1, and Rune, Ranked No.10, will mark the first time that two teenagers have occupied the top-10 of the ATP rankings since Djokovic and Murray in May of 2007.

The 21-time major champion says that Rune is better than Alcaraz on one wing, while Alcaraz is better than rune on the other.

“Rune has a better backhand,” he said. “Alcaraz has better forehand. But they are both improving on those shots that maybe are not as good as maybe other shot. But when I say “not as good,” [I mean] it’s not a huge difference. They have great shots. Great forehand from Rune or great backhand from Alcaraz.

The most important thing to note is that both players possess extremely complete games, especially for their age.

“They are very complete players for 19-year-olds,” Dkokovic said. “It’s quite impressive. Also their energy on the court, just wanting, motivating themselves and wanting to do well and staying mentally present, it’s impressive.”

Djokovic – Rune Reminds Me or Myself

For the second time this week, Djokovic talked of the similarities that he sees in young Rune’s game, compared to his own.

“I think he does have a lot of elements that remind me of myself when I was his age,” he said. “Just a very competitive spirit, very confident, going for the shots. Backhand, very solid backhand, great backhand. Dropshots, good return, mixing things up, coming to the net.”

Djokovic, who defeated Rune in their first meeting at the 2021 US Open, is impressed by how fast the Dane has made himself into a top player.

“He has improved a lot,” he said. “We played last year in US Open. Since then his level is higher. Two, three levels higher, for sure. So I’m sure that he’s going to keep going. He’s got, you know, big objectives and goals. Understandably so, because he’s really a player that has potential to reach great heights.”

Photo credit: Getty

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