Carlos Alcaraz backed in Pete Sampras Wimbledon claim as tennis great makes Grand Slam prediction

Ewan West
Carlos Alcaraz reacts at Wimbledon in 2024
Carlos Alcaraz reacts at Wimbledon in 2024

Mats Wilander has made the bold declaration that Carlos Alcaraz will be classified with tennis legend Pete Sampras in terms of greatness if he defends his Wimbledon title. 

The former world No 1 feels victory would see Alcaraz surpass a host of all-time greats, including himself, while he backed both the Spaniard and Jannik Sinner to reach double-digit Grand Slam totals.

Alcaraz is looking to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time in his career at Wimbledon, having defeated Novak Djokovic in an epic final in SW19 to win his second Major last year.

The 21-year-old Spaniard is seeking his fourth Grand Slam crown, having also triumphed at the 2022 US Open, and the 2024 French Open last month.

The world No 3 will face Tommy Paul in the quarter-finals today, and could meet Australian Open champion and world No 1 Sinner in the semi-finals.

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Seven-time Grand Slam winner Wilander argued Alcaraz winning Wimbledon this year would elevate him above players who have won more Major titles.

“If Carlos wins this Wimbledon, which would give him both the double and the link with Roland [Garros], then we will no longer be talking about [Andre] Agassi, [Jimmy] Connors, [Ivan] Lendl, or me when we try to classify him,” the Swede told L’Equipe.

“We will already be at least on Sampras. In any case, if we play speculation today, then yes, I will go for it: I think it is highly unlikely that they (Alcaraz and Sinner) will not both have a total of double-digit Grand Slam titles at the end of their careers.”

On Alcaraz and Sinner’s success, he added: “We’re at a turning point. And we’re reaching this point where the other players are starting to think, to say to themselves, and to transmit to each other: ‘No, no way, they’re too good, those two.’

“Everyone feels this trend on the tour. Physically, they’re unreal. Same for their shots. And despite all their talent, they don’t base their game on this aspect alone.

“Shall we continue? There’s motivation, ambition, calm, humility. They don’t break a racket, never insult their clan. In short, they have everything.”

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