What does John McEnroe think of Carlos Alcaraz?

Carlos Alcaraz in action

John McEnroe says that world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz is a breath of fresh air for the sport but warned that he has a target on his back now.

McEnroe feels that Alcaraz has to embrace being a marked man as he takes on all comers.

If Alcaraz is to stay World No 1, he will have to win the Miami Open with anything less seeing him drop back below Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic was again denied entry to the United States and had to withdraw from the Miami Open but he does not have any points to defend as he missed last year’s event as well.

Alcaraz snatched the top spot thanks to a flawless run at Indian wells that saw him become the first man to win six matches at the Tennis Garden on straight sets.

An impressive display in California will need to be followed up in sweltering Florida, and McEnroe said he would do well to hold onto the top spot for a prolonged period.

“Now, a win over Alcaraz is a lot bigger than it was a year ago, for anybody, so the key is to try and embrace the idea, I think of being able to enjoy it, but at the same time looking for ways to understand what it’s going to take to stay there because it’s one thing to get there but I believe it’s far more difficult to maintain that,” McEnroe told Eurosport.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see how he handles it. I worry a little bit because it’s a lot to put on some kid’s shoulders at 19. I became No 1 briefly at 21, and then I lost the ranking again, it was another year, a year and a half before I got it back for good for a while.

“So it will be interesting to see what happens with him, if he’s able to maintain or else they talk about a ‘sophomore slump’ a little bit, and it’s hard to imagine something like that won’t happen to a certain degree,” McEnroe added.

Now a three-time Masters champion, Alcaraz is the youngest man to win both legs of the Sunshine Double and the ninth to achieve the feat.

He joins compatriot Rafael Nadal as the only male players who have won three Masters titles as teenagers.

Alcaraz has now become world No 1 twice before his 20th birthday.

“It means a lot to me. To recover the No. 1 [ranking] is crazy for me,” Alcaraz said after winning the title at Indian Wells.

READ MORE: Carlos Alcaraz banishes Novak Djokovic ‘asterisk’ snipe as he reclaims No 1 ranking