Carlos Alcaraz has broken away from the chasing pack and is on the same level as 23-times grand slam champion Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev said after losing to the Spaniard in the quarter-finals of the US Open.

Zverev was once seen as the best bet to break the ‘Big Three”s grip on men’s tennis, but the 26-year-old German failed to come out ahead and is still chasing his maiden Grand Slam title.

With Roger Federer now retired and Rafael Nadal likely to end his career after next season, Alcaraz has joined Djokovic at the top of the men’s game, and Zverev is perhaps in the best position to judge the power shift after losing to both of them recently.

“I played Novak in Cincinnati (last month) and Carlos here. They are very similar in terms of the match,” Zverev told reporters after beating defending champion Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

“There are some things that Novak does better, there are some things that Carlos does better. I think they are on a level of their own at the moment.

“The other players have to catch up. It’s that simple.”

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Highlights of Carlos Alcaraz vs. Alexander Zverev in the US Open quarterfinals

Djokovic, 36, is playing some of his best tennis and is seeking his 24th Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s singles record.

The duo dominated the tour this season, with the Serbian player winning the Australian and French Open titles, while Alcaraz (20 years old) beat him at Wimbledon to claim his second Grand Slam title.

Zverev, who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros this year, suffered an ankle injury last season but said a hamstring injury dashed his hopes at Flushing Meadows.

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic
Alcaraz and Djokovic are “on a level of their own,” says Zverev.

He added, “I could no longer continue my serve. The speed of my serve was much slower compared to other days.”

“Against him, I needed a good serving day, otherwise it would have been difficult. My biggest weapon was taken away after the first set.

“It’s hard to even compete if you don’t have that.”

Alcaraz will next face 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals on Friday, while Djokovic, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, faces Ben Shelton, the 20-year-old unseeded American who has never reached this level. Limit in one of the major tournaments.

“I try to make people enjoy watching tennis and watching the matches,” Alcaraz said during his on-court interview.

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Carlos Alcaraz says he feels great playing at the US Open

“The last matches I played against Daniel [Medvedev] You played a tactical game played perfectly. I did very well, in all the things I had to do against him, so I think my style suits well against this type of opponent, like Daniel.

“So, I will try to do the same things I did, for example, in Indian Wells and Wimbledon, and hopefully I can win and play at the same level I played in those matches.”

Regarding the potential final against Djokovic, Alcaraz added: “Well, obviously it’s closer than the start of the tournament. It’s only one match from that potential final.

“It would be great to play a final against Novak here in New York, but we both have a really tough semi-final, so let’s see.

“But obviously we’re both looking for that potential final.”

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