Novak Djokovic hails ‘talk of the sport’ Carlos Alcaraz, says teen is ‘one of the favourites’ for French Open

Delight for Carlos Alcaraz

“Special”, “really impressive” and “best player in the world” are ways that Novak Djokovic has described Carlos Alcaraz with the current world No 1 saying the teenager is among the favourites to win the French Open.

Alcaraz is currently the talk of the town after he won a second ATP Masters title in the space of a few weeks as he followed up the Miami Open crown with the Madrid Open trophy on Sunday. Sandwiched in between was the Barcelona Open title while he also won the Rio Open in February.

The Spaniard has climbed to a career-high of No 6 in the ATP Rankings while Madrid runner-up Alexander Zverev described him as the “best player in the world” after their match on Sunday.

Djokovic, who was beaten in three sets by Alcaraz in the semi-final in the Spanish capital, echoed Zverev’s comments.

“He definitely is special,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner said. “Already he’s breaking a lot of records as a teenager, winning two Masters events this year, a couple of 500s. So far he’s the best player in the world, no question, this year with the results that he’s been doing.”

He added: “He deserved to win the trophy. Everything about his game is really impressive. He’s a really complete player, can play equally well offensively and defensively. He’s the talk of the sport.”

Alcaraz won’t play at this week’s Italian Open as he opted to take a breather ahead of the French Open and, having won two tournaments on clay in the lead-up to the red dirt Grand Slam, Djokovic feels he will be one of the players to beat.

“The way he was dealing with the pressure. I mean, in our match few days ago, how calm he was all the way… was impressive. He deserved to win the trophy,” Djokovic said.

“(At) Roland Garros, he’s definitely one of the main favourites, no doubt, even though he has never reached the second week of a Grand Slam. With everything recently that he has achieved, he deserves to be one of the favourites.”