Carlos Alcaraz has been named as one of the top “three or four players” to win the upcoming French Open, with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic the clear favourites. Alcaraz became the youngest man ever to win the Miami Open when he lifted his maiden Masters 1000 title on Sunday and is now being tipped for even bigger and better things.
Alcaraz made history with his recent run in Miami. As well as becoming the tournament’s youngest-ever male singles champion, he also became the youngest man to reach back-to-back semi-finals in Indian Wells and Miami, with Djokovic and Nadal only achieving the feat aged 19. The young Spaniard is now getting his sights on winning a Grand Slam, something he admits he can do as early as this year, and has been backed as a favourite to win the French Open.
Fellow Spaniard Alex Corretja believes the 18-year-old is up there among the top players contending for the next Grand Slam title in the calendar. The former world No 2 told Eurosport: “Alcaraz has got a real shot of winning Roland Garros, for sure. He is going to be among the top three or four players to win the tournament.”
Also sitting among the favourites will be Nadal and Djokovic, with the former having won the tournament a record 13 times in the past and known as the ‘King of Clay’ while the world No 1 is the defending champion. Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former French Open champion himself believes the clay is his charge’s best surface and Corretja thinks no one will want to play against the world No 11 on the surface.
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“We need to see how the clay season goes, but definitely, right now, nobody likes to play against him, because you know that you will suffer,” the 17-time title winner continued. “You see a guy that is flying on the court, he hits the ball hard, he defends well, and of course, you see that he is going to fight until the end.”
Corrteja also thought Alcaraz had the mental strength to go on to win a Major, adding: “He has proved that his emotions, he is controlling them very well. Even if it’s a tie-break in the third [set], in very close moments, he knows how to deal with that. He is acting like he has lots of experience, but he is still very young. So that shows that he is very smart, very clever. He is very professional.”
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And it seems the man himself agrees, as the newly-crowned Miami champion believes he has everything ready to win a Grand Slam even if it isn’t the French Open. “I am prepared, I am confident, I am also physically and mentally. Maybe it’s not Roland Garros, but I can win a Grand Slam this year. And I’m not afraid to say it,” he said after his title win.
“There is Nadal, Djokovic, Tsitsipas or Medvedev, who are the best in the world and favorites in a Grand Slam, but yes, I am not afraid to say that I am ready to win a Grand Slam.”