Carlos Alcaraz - Roland Garros 2023

Carlos Alcaraz ‘the greatest 20-year-old ever’ claims former No.1

Carlos Alcaraz has been labelled ‘the greatest player ever at 20’ by 16-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe, who is ‘hoping’ for a rivalry between the Spaniard and Holger Rune.

Alcaraz made a winning start to his Roland Garros campaign, where he is the top seed at a major for the first time in his career, beating qualifier Flavio Cobolli in straight sets.

The US Open champion was waxed lyrical about by former singles and doubles No.1 McEnroe after the match, “Look at Alcaraz, the guy’s the best 20-year-old I’ve ever seen and at this point, I’d put him above [Rafael] Nadal, [Novak] Djokovic, [Roger] Federer and [Pete] Sampras as the greatest player I’ve ever seen at 20.”

Fellow 20-year-old and top 10 player Rune also won his opening match at the Paris major, and McEnroe revealed his desire for a rivalry between Alcaraz and the Dane.

“I believe you need rivalries,” McEnroe said on Eurosport. “We haven’t seen a lot, particularly on the women’s side.”

He continued, “You think about how much better the men have got because they’ve played each other so often. It’s insane. They were forced to get better.”

“Now, you’re hoping, as Djokovic and Nadal wind down, you’re hoping Alcaraz and Rune in particular step up and have a great rivalry because all sports need it. It makes it much more fun and much more interesting. People generally pay more attention.”

If Alcaraz and Rune were to begin their rivalry at Roland Garros it would have to be in the final, as they are in opposite halves of the draw.

Carlos Alcaraz vs Holger Rune head-to-head

Alcaraz and Rune have known each other for a long time, and even played doubles together as 13-year-old’s.

However, they have only played two matches against each other on the main ATP tour so far:

Alcaraz vs Rune: 1-1

  1. Alcaraz beat Rune, 4-3 4-2 4-0 (Next Gen ATP Finals Round-Robin 2021)
  2. Rune beat Alcaraz, 6-3 6-6(3-1) (Alcaraz retired) (Paris Masters Quarter-final 2022)

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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.