‘Carlos Alcaraz a well-deserved No 1, Novak Djokovic best player in the world, Rafael Nadal the player of the year’
Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal all starred during the 2022 tennis season and Andy Roddick admits he can’t wait to see the trio go up against each other regularly next year.
Nadal dominated the early part of the campaign as he started his year with a 20-match winning streak as he lifted the three consecutive trophies – including the Australian Open. After a rib injury forced him to miss several weeks, he returned to win a 14th title and Roland Garros and a 22nd Grand Slam.
By the time he won the French Open, Alcaraz had already won four titles – including ATP Masters 1000 Miami Open and Madrid Open – and surged into the top 10 of the ATP Rankings.
After missing the early part of the season due to his unvaccinated status, Djokovic started to regain his form during the clay season as he won the Italian Open before going on to successfully defend his Wimbledon crown to move to 21 Grand Slams.
The Serbian was also unable to play at the US Open and Alcaraz was the man to dominate as the 19-year-old won his maiden Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows, becoming world No 1 in the process.
“What a talent Alcaraz is,” Roddick told Tennis Channel. “This kid’s rise has been meteoric. He so obviously passes the eye test for someone who is going to win majors, now to get to No 1 that quickly, that’s a different story.”
But Djokovic was the man to finish the season on a high as he won the Tel Aviv Open, Astana Open and ATP Finals with Alcaraz missing the season-finale in Turin due to injury. However, the Spaniard claimed the year-end No 1 ranking.
Former world No 1 Roddick says Alcaraz deserves to be world No 1, but he feels Djokovic remains the “best player in the world”.
“As we look forward to next year I still think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think Novak Djokovic is the best player in the world,” he said.
“But the No 1 rank for Alcaraz is well deserved, he was unbelievable to watch this year. I wish so badly he was in Turin mixing it up this week with this group of phenomenal players but we want health and he has a long career ahead of himself.
“Hopefully he comes back healthy and ready, and I can’t wait to see him match up with Rafa [Nadal], Novak and the guys that are going to try to claim that territory for as long as they can. What a gift to the game Alcaraz has been.”
When a fan challenged the American about leaving Nadal out, Roddick pointed out that he has previously stated that the 22-time Grand Slam winner is his player of the year.
“Jim [Courier] chose Rafa for 22 GS & on top w/ 2 GS 2 ATPs despite the odds for best player of 2022. Andy said ‘you’re not gonna find a Rafan in me’ & chose Alcaraz. Andy I understand U got beaten by 18 y/o Rafa in your prime. Must be tough to take,” the fan wrote on Twitter.
However the reply was: “The words were actually… ‘You won’t find a bigger Rafa fan than me’. I’ve been saying all week I’d take Rafa’s two slams over anyone else’s year. But ok…”
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