Carlos Alcaraz and Elena Rybakina - Indian Wells 2023

Carlos Alcaraz and Elena Rybakina ‘have a shot’ at sunshine double claims former No.1

Carlos Alcaraz and Elena Rybakina have been backed by 18-time singles Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova to complete the rare feat of winning both Indian Wells and the Miami Open in the same year.

Alcaraz won his first Indian Wells title by ending Daniil Medvedev’s 19-match winning streak in the final, and therefore overtook Novak Djokovic to regain his spot as No.1.

However, the 19-year-old knows that if he is to stay at the top of the rankings he will need to retain his Miami Open title to become the eighth man to complete the sunshine double.

Rybakina also won her first Indian Wells title just over a week ago when she got revenge over Aryna Sabalenka, who beat her in the Australian Open final.

Despite never achieving the rare feat herself, Navratilova has predicted the pair to do so, “You have to go with Alcaraz and Rybakina. I think they have a really good shot at winning the ‘Sunshine Double’.”

Navratilova added, “They both have a shot at it, they are the players to beat. Rybakina is in form and healthy.”

Alcaraz has had his struggles with fitness over the past few months, including a leg injury that meant that he had to miss the first major of year.

Navratilova praised the Spaniard’s recovery back to form, “Now healthy, I don’t know how he fixed that leg but he did and he’s looking very, very sharp.”

“Every match is a Wimbledon final to him. He is fired up the same way for every single match and he’s in there. I just look forward to watching great matches.”

Players to complete the sunshine double

There are 11 players that have completed the sunshine double, seven men and four women, with Iga Swiatek the most recent.

If Navratilova was to be correct and Alcaraz and Rybakina do complete the sunshine double this year, it will be only the fourth time that both a man and woman have achieved the historic feat in the same year.

Here is the full list of singles players to complete the sunshine double:

  • Jim Courier – 1991
  • Michael Chang -1992
  • Pete Sampras – 1994
  • Steffi Graf – 1994, 1996
  • Marcelo Ríos – 1998
  • Andre Agassi – 2001
  • Roger Federer – 2005, 2006, 2017
  • Kim Clijsters – 2005
  • Novak Djokovic – 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Victoria Azarenka – 2016
  • Iga Swiatek – 2022

Both Elena Rybakina and Carlos Alcaraz play at the Miami Open later today, with the Kazakh taking on Martina Trevisan in the quarter-final and the Spaniard against Tommy Paul in the fourth round.

Australian Open semi-finalist Paul has a 12-0 record against Spanish players, including a win over Alcaraz last year in Montreal.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.