“Alcaraz and Djokovic win a lot of matches just because of who they are” – interview with Aleksandar Vukic

Alexandar Vukic
La selfie de Alexandar Vukic luego de la entrevista con CLAY // ALEKSANDAR VUKIC
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LONDON – Neither powerful shots nor clever strategies. The best tennis players in the world like Carlos Alcarazor Novak Djokovic only need their name to win many of their matches.

Aleksandar Vukic explained it in this interview. The Australian with Serbian roots played against Djokovic in March, and will face the Spaniard this Wednesday in the second round of Wimbledon.

“These guys win a lot of matches just by being who they are, rather than playing, and that’s a big challenge because they have that aura around them,” he told CLAY at the All England Club.

Vukic confessed that he watched Alcaraz carefully last year during the grass swing. He was greatly surprised by his rapid progress on the surface and the way he moved on the court: “He’s someone I admire. He’s eight years younger than me, but he’s a very good role model for the sport.”

He was born in Sydney 28 years ago after his parents escaped the Balkan Wars. To get his tennis career off the ground, Vukic found inspiration in his family’s past. He says that turbulent history made him a “stronger” player.

Interview with Aleksandar Vukic

What are the weaknesses of Carlos Alcaraz?

– That’s a great question. I will find that out for you over the next hours. I will see with my team, kind of go over the game plan and do all that. There’s not too many weaknesses. He’s got a lot of strengths, but I will have to play well myself. I do know that, so I am looking forward to it and we’ll kind of see.

Aleksandar Vukic
Aleksandar Vukic hits a volley in Eastbourne.

– There is no other possible combination, right? You have to show your very best tennis and hope he is not in a decent day to find chances.

– For sure, a bit of both. I need to play well, I need to compete well, I need to have a lot of belief because I’m sure some doubts will come in. There’s a lot of things that I think will have to go my way. But at the end of the day, it’s a tennis match. And it’s a tennis match on grass, which makes it even closer. I know he had two tight sets in the first round as well (victory against Mark Lajal, 7-6 [7-3], 7-5 y 6-2). I was watching before my match and I think grass highlights that as well. If you can serve well, if you can take care of your things, anything can happen. Because at the end, they’re human, they get nervous as well. There’s a lot of things, so I’ve got to be there and be ready to take the opportunities

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– Australians know the surface well as they meet the grass since kids.

– Yeah, for sure. And especially in Sydney, we play on synthetic grass, which is even quicker. And it has sand in it, so I grew up a lot on that. That’s why a lot of the Aussies have a very flat backhand. We really do feel comfortable with it. It’s funny, you go from clay to grass and you only see a lot of the Aussie names. You see them all on the grass, so it’s just the nature of it.

– It still sounds interesting that you mention cutting the gap…. With the reigning Wimbledon champion!

– Yeah, for sure, for sure. He’s the defending champion. I remember watching him last year when he won Queens, when he won Wimbledon. From how he was playing at the beginning of Queens to how he finished playing at the end of Wimbledon, it was something that I learnt a lot from, in a way, of how he adapts situations. Because he wasn’t playing well at the beginning of Queens, and he found how to move. He’s very good at that, and I was actually observing a lot of him to see how he moves, to take it to my game, because he’s very stable. He’s a guy that constantly embraces everything, constantly embraces the challenges. It’s someone that I look up to. He’s eight years younger than me, but he’s such a good role model for the sport.

What did you learn most about playing Djokovic in Indian Wells this year?

– That was such a good experience, tomorrow’s match against Alcaraz will be similar, I think. Sometimes these guys win a lot of matches by being who they are, rather than what they’re playing, and that is a big challenge because they have this aura around them. And Djokovic, he’s one of my idols, so he has that aura. A lot of my mental notes are from him. So going into that match, the biggest challenge was trying to play tennis and not play Novak. And I think I did a good job in that, so that was one of the lessons that gave me confidence of just playing tennis and not playing the guy, and I’ll do my best tomorrow to do that as well.

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– So you’re going to try to play tennis, not to play Alcaraz.



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Una publicación compartida por Aleks Vukic (@aleks.vukic)

Aleksandar Vukic visiting Centre Court during his time playing in U.S. college tennis. This Wednesday he will play for the first time on one of the show courts.

– You are a good chess player, is there anything of your knowledge in that game that you can use in tennis?

-There is more emotion in tennis than in chess, but they are full of similarities. Sometimes it helps to solve complex situations. There are a lot of tennis players interested in chess, so we have a good group playing each other. It’s like the beginning of…

– A new trend in the tennis tour?

– I think it is. Yes, I think it is. A lot of fun. A lot of people are learning.

– You can organize a chess tournament during a tennis tournament. Who is the best?

– Yes! We’ll have to see. I feel like I should be up there. I have a solid level, but there are a few French guys who are good. I also play with a Spanish coach. I know Roberto Bautista plays.

– Your parents escaped the Balkan Wars with your brother when he were very young. You were born later in Australia. That family history sure inspires you on the court.

– There’s no doubt about that. Knowing what they went through and just growing up with them, I think it definitely made me stronger. I was lucky and privileged to have had a peaceful childhood because of them making tough decisions. I used that to my advantage. They are a great inspiration.

If you enjoyed this interview with Aleksandar Vukic, don’t miss, in this link to our website, many other interviews with tennis greats.

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