The first 2023 French Open semifinal was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated tennis matches in recent memory, and it delivered for two phenomenal sets — before Carlos Alcaraz began cramping and fell in four sets to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros on Friday.

Still, the first two sets between the young superstar and one of the greatest tennis players of all time was electric, and Djokovic shared some high praise for the Spaniard after winning 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

“I told him at the net, he knows how young he is, he has plenty of time ahead of him, he's going to win this tournament, I'm sure, many many times,” Djokovic said in the post-match interview. “He's an unbelievable player and an incredible competitor, very nice guy, he deserves all the applause and all the support.”

Alcaraz won just one game after the problem caused him to pause for several seconds early in the third set and noticeably hindered him the rest of the way, but the Serbian respected the Spaniard's resolve despite the ailment.

“The last thing you want is cramps and physical problems in the late stages of a Grand Slam, so I feel for him, I hope he can recover and he can come back very soon,” the 22-time Grand Slam champion continued.

“Congrats to him for the fighting spirit and hanging in right to the last point, respect for that. Great respect. I hope he comes back very quickly.”

As the World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz begins to prepare for the grass season, World No. 3 Novak Djokovic will be looking ahead to his seventh French Open final on Sunday.

He's won the tournament twice, in 2016 and most recently in 2021 by beating Rafael Nadal in the semifinal and outlasting Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets in the final. In 2023, he awaits the winner of Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud who are playing Friday's second semifinal.

With a win on Sunday, Djokovic would stand alone, breaking the tie with Nadal and earning the Serbian superstar a third clay title and a record 23rd Grand Slam.