‘Everything points to Carlos Alcaraz as the favourite’ to win French Open

Carlos Alcaraz in action

Juan Carlos Ferrero admits Carlos Alcaraz’s form on clay this season means he is the player to beat at Roland Garros, but he also cautioned the world No 1 that “if you have an average day” you can lose to anyone.

Alcaraz is backing up his breakthrough 2022 season that saw him win the US Open and become the youngest-ever world No 1 with another brilliant campaign.

He has already won four titles – including two ATP Masters 1000 titles – and is 20-2 on clay so far this year with his only defeats coming in the final of the Rio Open against Cameron Norrie and a surprise loss to the unheralded Fabian Marozsan in the third round of the Italian Open.

Alcaraz’s coach Ferrero admits his charge is the favourite to win at Roland Garros, but he also has a warning for the 20-year-old.

“Carlos has played better than anyone during the clay season, but you have to do that every day at every tournament, as I tell him,” he told the media. “We saw that in Rome; if you have an average day, your opponent plays well and you lose. Everything points to Carlos as the favourite, we’ve heard it many times and we know that.”

He added: “The rest after losing in Rome was good for him to reset on a mental level by being at home for a while. We hope everything goes well. If there are no mishaps, I think he’s one of the favourites for the title. Will it happen? We don’t know.”

A lot of young players suffer from second-season syndrome as they struggle to reproduce their heroics from their breakthrough campaign, but Alcaraz is thriving despite the added pressure of being the favourite every time he plays.

Ferrero believes the rising star has a good team around him to keep him “on the right path”.

“He’s a better player this year,” he said. “The experience of winning the US Open and going through what came after it has matured him more. The injuries have also made him think that it’s not all a bed of roses, that bad things can happen.

“In any case, he’s more mature as a person. He’s 20 and, also, when you’re in a team where people are older, I think you grow up a little quicker than you would with people who are your age.

“The whole team is very experienced, each in their own field. Carlos has an advantage in that respect: we’ve been with him for a while and we’ve worked hard to get him organised and on the right path.”

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