Carlos Alcaraz ‘the most exciting player ever’ claims former No.1
Carlos Alcaraz has been labelled the ‘the most exciting tennis player that has ever walked on a tennis court’ by seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, who believes ‘people’ would rather see the Spaniard claim the Roland Garros title over Novak Djokovic.
Alcaraz is coming into a Grand Slam as the top seed for the first time in his career and despite a shock loss to qualifier Fabian Marozsan in Rome, Wilander believes the No.1’s preparation for Roland Garros has been ‘perfect’.
“For Carlos Alcaraz, I think the preparation actually is perfect,” explained Wilander. “Rome wasn’t that great, but he lost because his opponent hit unbelievably hard and played a great match because he won in Barcelona and in Madrid.”
“I think [his] confidence is very high. He has [had] about two weeks, maybe even slightly more to rest before he starts.”
Carlitos and Stan The Man hitting on Philippe-Chatrier 🧨@carlosalcaraz @stanwawrinka | #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/72ZGpEHZ2n
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 25, 2023
For Djokovic, there is a lot at stake with Rafael Nadal absent from the Paris major for the first time since 2004, giving the Serb the opportunity to win a record 23rd Grand Slam title.
Although Wilander believes ‘everybody wants to witness a record being broken’, he has suggested that Alcaraz winning his first Roland Garros title would be more popular amongst the French crowd.
“The strange thing for Novak Djokovic, for example, is that the crowd, fans, and the media are going to go to Roland-Garros, and of course, everybody wants to witness a record being broken, but I think people want to witness a new champion,” claimed the 58-year-old.
He continued, “A new 20-year-old player in Carlos, across a new champion at Roland-Garros because Novak is coming at a strange time. If it was only Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Sasha [Alexander] Zverev and that generation, I think most people would like to see Novak win.”
“But because Carlos is there, I think most people want to see him win because we don’t know what to expect.”
Wilander continued to heap praise on Alcaraz, but did explain that it is still unclear if he will become ‘a great champion’ or ‘stuck just winning the US Open‘.
“The anticipation level of people when they watch Carlos Alcaraz play – I have never experienced another tennis player where the fans are so enthusiastic about a tennis player, whether it’s a male player or a female player,” claimed Wilander.
The Swede added, “To me, Carlos Alcaraz seems to be the most exciting tennis player that has ever walked on a tennis court, and maybe more so because we don’t really know if he’s going to be a great champion or he’s going to be stuck maybe just winning the US Open once.”
Carlos Alcaraz at Roland Garros
Despite all of his success, Alcaraz has only played in the main draw of Roland Garros on two previous occasions.
Here is how he has performed:
Roland Garros main draw win-loss record: 6-2 (75%)
2021 – Lost in the third round to Jan-Lennard Struff, 4-6 6(3)-7 2-6
2022 – Lost in the quarter-final to Alexander Zverev (3), 4-6 4-6 6-4 6(7)-7
Alcaraz will begin his third Roland Garros campaign against either a qualifier or lucky loser.
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