The Agony of Playing Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic at the French Open

Kovacevic, who lost to Djokovic, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(1), had a pretty good idea of what that felt like, too, even though he lasted more than two hours on the court with a player he grew up idolizing.

“There was some points, passing shots that he hits, and they’re just points where I feel like I had no chance sometimes,” Kovacevic said. “And those are definitely humbling.”

It is a truism of tennis that the top players hate playing the first round of a Grand Slam. Anything but a cruise to victory is cause for concern. Also, there is always the possibility of epic failure in the form of a loss to someone few have heard of.

Whatever discomfort Djokovic and Alcaraz may have felt walking onto the courts at Roland Garros on Monday, they mostly managed it with ease, especially Alcaraz. He made an early contribution to the tournament highlight reel, curling a backhand around the net post for a winner early in the second set. Djokovic had more of a workout, and even lost his serve late in his match after getting windblown clay in his eyes.

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