His is the form of meteoric rise sport craves and should he achieve what numerous are predicting — win the Coupes des Mousquetaires on the Parisian clay aged 19 — he will make headlines around the planet.
Alcaraz’s increase — from 141 in the entire world at the commencing of past 12 months, to sixth now — provides a significantly-necessary choice narrative to men’s clay court tennis.
The Spaniard has gained 4 ATP titles this yr — in Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Miami and Madrid — beating Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev on his way to the title in his country’s cash.
Players previous and present have been fulsome in their praise for the young Spaniard.
4-time French Open up winner Justine Henine claimed very last week in an job interview with Belgian newspaper Sudinfo that Alcaraz was “far more entire” than Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, though Zverev has described him as the best player “in the world correct now.”
“He definitely is distinctive,” Djokovic has explained to reporters, when Nadal has conceded that his compatriot can defeat everyone.
A new King for the clay?
Significant praise leads to large expectations. But, of program, behemoths stand in Alcaraz’s way of a initial grand slam.
Nadal, the ‘King of Clay,’ has been just about unbeatable on the crimson filth because winning the first of his 13 titles at Roland Garos aged 19. There hasn’t been a superior clay courtroom participant his the historical past of the sport.
But Nadal, who would seize a report-extending 22nd main title with victory in Paris, is running a foot injuries and is a lot more vulnerable than ever. Barring a late withdrawal, Nadal’s bid for a 14th French Open up crown starts off from Australia’s Jordan Thompson.
Djokovic is the defending winner and will be aiming to draw stage with Nadal on 21 grand slams. For all the concentration on Alcaraz, the Serb is the planet selection 1 and lately won his first title of the year, in Rome, to perform himself into form at the suitable time.
Some others could be in competition, way too. Danill Medvedev is closing in on Djokovic’s entire world No1 place, but the Russian has skipped all the clay court season to date. And the ATP’s “Up coming Gen’ stars, Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipasas, will need to before long start off fulfilling their promise at grand slams.
Using women’s clay court docket to an additional stage
Iga Swiatek’s variety has built women’s tennis a tad much more predictable.
The planet No.1 is on a 28-match profitable streak and should she get a next French Open up she will match Venus Williams’ history this millennium of 35 consecutive victories.
Victory in the French cash would also make the Pole the initial female to gain six tournament in a row given that Justine Henin did so in 2007-2008.
In her nine clay court matches this season, the 20-calendar year-outdated Swiatek has dropped just 1 established. There hasn’t been these kinds of a pre-event favourite due to the fact, well, a fully fit Nadal.
“The tension is consistently on,” Swiatek told reporters at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome lately. “It can be not like I am examining it each 7 days due to the fact I would get quite fatigued just performing that.”
“Developing and handling a wholesome and sustainable job these days, primarily in the era of social media and cellular equipment and other pressures, it really is anything that’s a wonderful problem for almost all people in significant overall performance activity.”
And Simona Halep, a previous winner who enjoys clay, should really not be discounted, possibly.
Like the ATP, the greatest names in the WTA have not been contenders of late. This could be the grand slam wherever tennis’ upcoming will become clearer.