‘Carlos Alcaraz could be the next Novak Djokovic’, declares tennis legend

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz
Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz

Tennis great Mats Wilander claimed Carlos Alcaraz could be “the next Novak Djokovic” following the Spaniard’s triumph at the 2024 French Open.

The former world No 1 believes tennis needs Alcaraz “more than anything” and backed the 21-year-old to change the sport if he keeps winning Grand Slams.

Alcaraz overcame world No 4 Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in a thrilling Roland Garros final to win the Paris Grand Slam for the first time.

The Spanish star, who only turned 21 in May, has now won three Grand Slam titles and is the youngest player to win a Major title on all three surfaces.

The 7 youngest players to win the Surface Slam as Carlos Alcaraz surges to No 1

Alcaraz, who has climbed to world No 2 following his victory, secured his maiden Grand Slam at the 2022 US Open, when he became the youngest-ever ATP world No 1. He then added the Wimbledon crown in July last year, where he overcame Djokovic in an epic final.

Wilander, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, gave his assessment of Alcaraz’s triumph and discussed the impact the Spanish star could have on tennis.

“I think Zverev became a little bit passive to be honest, I think he allowed Carlitos to play his game a little bit too much,” the Swede told Eurosport.

“But at the same time, we’re looking at a multiple, multiple Grand Slam champion. This could be [the] next Novak Djokovic for all we know.

“We need Carlos Alcaraz more than anything in our sport right now. And I think for him to be relevant, I think he needs to keep winning maybe one Major every year.

“If he does that, he’s gonna stay relevant and he’s gonna change our sport in many ways, the way that people look at tennis because he’s such a breath of fresh air. He’s smiling, he’s humble – his speech was great, so this is great for professional tennis.

“Of course, would be nice to see Sascha Zverev, a new face, win a Slam, but it’s gonna be tough to catch Carlos now that he can win when he’s not playing his best against the best players in the world.”

Former world No 4 Tim Henman also hailed Alcaraz’s mentality after the Roland Garros championship match.

“There’s very little negativity,” said the Brit.

“The only time he was negative was when he complained about the court at the end of the third set I think it was, where he said ‘This is like a hard court,’ and it is, it’s pretty dusty out here, but again, once he gets that positive mindset, there’s a very good camaraderie, connection with the box, with his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero.

“And down two sets to one you’re thinking ‘Well this is going to be difficult’ but the way he responded to dominate proceedings, it’s a phenomenal effort.

“And he’s 21 years of age, it’s staggering to be producing this level of tennis, the physicality but also the mentality.”

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