Tennis legend claims Carlos Alcaraz is ‘better’ than Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in key area

Ewan West
Carlos Alcaraz looks on at the Australian Open
Carlos Alcaraz reacts during a match

Mats Wilander has proclaimed that he does not think he has ever seen a better forehand than Carlos Alcaraz’s “in terms of technique” after the Spaniard reached the Australian Open quarter-finals. 

The seven-time major winner claimed that Alcaraz’s forehand is “better” than Novak Djokovic’s and highlighted the fact it is not the “big, loopy” shot Rafael Nadal possesses.

Alcaraz produced a stunning display to crush world No 60 Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 in the fourth round of the 2024 Australian Open on Monday.

The two-time Grand Slam champion will face world No 6 Alexander Zverev, who he holds a 3-4 record against, in the quarter-finals in Melbourne.

The world No 2 is making just his third appearance at the Australian Open, having missed last year’s edition, and is looking to claim his first title at the event.

The 20-year-old Spaniard’s forehand is his biggest weapon and is undoubtedly one of the best in the game when performing at its best.

Following Alcaraz’s win over Kecmanovic, Wilander lauded the variety Alcaraz has on his forehand side and highlighted the way he used it to attack the Serbian.

“The difference between him [and Kecmanovic] is that they’re both trying to hit forehands. He’s got options, he’s got so many options,” the former world No 1 told Eurosport.

“He can go inside-out, inside-in with the forehand, he can go drop-shot both ways as well. And he can loop it up the way Rafa Nadal can do. So I think that you’ve gotta stay away from his forehand or you’re gonna have a very, very long day.

“It’s not easy for me to analyse something that I don’t understand. Alcaraz’s forehand placement is highly unusual. He went 63% of the time into Kecmanovic’s forehand – that’s usually the strength of most tennis players – and only 25% to the backhand.

“He hits the ball so hard that no one expects this kind of tennis because no one else does it, really. Djokovic is going there sometimes, but winners there are unheard of because you can stretch out and defend there much better than the backhand [wing].

“The acceleration is incredible. In terms of technique, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better forehand. It’s not the big, loopy Rafa, it’s better than Djokovic.”

Former world No 4 Tim Henman gave his assessment of Alcaraz’s forehand and also pointed to the wealth of options he has with it.

“[His forehand] is a difficult shot but he makes it look so simple because he keeps his upper body so still, but the racquet head acceleration through the forehand is unbelievable,” the Brit said.

“With that racquet head speed, sometimes he comes in and hits it flat going for the big winner, and other times when he wants to stay in the rally he comes up the back of the ball and gives it more air over the net.

“Then he’s got the drop shot where he just comes underneath it. He’s got the limitless options. It’s one of the most devastating shots in the game right now.”

READ MORE: Carlos Alcaraz fires a warning to Novak Djokovic as he makes ominous Wimbledon comparison