Based on the reactions on social media, it seems everyone in the world of tennis was riveted by
Novak Djokovic’s victory over
Carlos Alcaraz in the final of the last tournament for both ahead of
It was a titanic, 3½-hour-plus showdown between the two titans of the men's game at the moment — the third time they've played each other in Djokovic's past three events,
each on a different surface — and set the stage for what will be an expected meeting to determine the champion at Flushing Meadows, where play begins Monday and finishes on Sept. 10.
Last weekend's contest at the hard-court Cincinnati Masters, in which Djokovic, who is 36, saved a championship point in the second set and Alcaraz, who is 20, saved four in the third before succumbing
Serena Williams’ farewell match in New York and
Roger Federer’s retirement announcement soon thereafter.
Alcaraz is The Next Big Thing, the winner of the
2022 U.S. Open who grabbed his second Grand Slam title
last month at Wimbledon by beating — yes, that's right — Djokovic. And Djokovic,
the owner of 23 major trophies, is the only member of The Big Three competing nowadays, what with Federer (who has 20) done and Rafael Nadal (22) out since January with a hip problem but eyeing a return for one last hurrah in 2024.
"For so many years, the game has been dominated by legends of the sport, but Father Time is undefeated. Everyone has to kind of go on to their next stage and they have to put the rackets down. We're seeing that unfortunately with Serena, with Roger, with Rafa. There is going to be a bit of a transition period," said Chris Eubanks, a 27-year-old from Atlanta who reached the Wimbledon men's quarterfinals. "It leaves a lot of parity and it leaves a lot of opportunities for other players in the men's and women's games to kind of make a name for themselves."
Iga Swiatek, who is 22, No. 2
Aryna Sabalenka, 25, and No. 4
Elena Rybakina, 24, appear poised to stay near the top of the women's game — Swiatek already has won four Slam titles, including
the 2022 U.S. Open; the others have one apiece — and No. 6