Carlos Alcaraz Australian Open 2022

‘100% he will be world number one’ predicts Australian Open icon on ‘unbelievable’ Carlos Alcaraz

Mats Wilander has high hopes for Carlos Alcaraz despite his Australian Open exit and believes he will go on to be a future World number one, feeling he won’t “stop until he gets to the very top.”

Alcaraz enjoyed a stellar breakthrough season last year as he won the NextGen ATP Finals and was nominated for the ATP’s Most Improved Player of the Year award.

The 18-year-old Spanish sensation spectacularly rose a total of 109 ranking positions in 2021 when he went from 141st to 32nd in the ATP World rankings, the biggest rise of any player on the tour last year.

At the Australian Open, Alcaraz had been performing well but ultimately lost to world number seven Matteo Berrettini in the third round.

Berrettini took a two set lead but Alcaraz battled back to level at two sets each. The final set was decided by a tie-break which Berrettini won 10-5.

Despite the narrow and hard-fought defeat, seven-time Grand Slam champion Wilander feels Alcaraz is a very special player that will reach the upper echelons of the sport.

Speaking on the Eurosport Cube, three-time Australian Open winner Mats Wilander said “Carlos Alcaraz is unbelievable in pretty much every department.

“Physically he is so strong already, he is so fast on the court, he changed his tactics throughout the match and turned it around and emotionally – he is as excited as Rafa Nadal sometimes, and then he is smiling up at Juan Carlos Ferrero at times and the relationship between the two of them seems to be incredible.

“The relationship Carlos Alcaraz seems to have with the sport is incredible. I really think this kid is going to be number one in the world because he is not going to stop until he gets to the very top of the game,” Wilander believes.

“Some people think why are Spanish players so successful – maybe because they are clay court specialists? No, this is wrong. It is the Spanish mentality for me, they just don’t give up.”

In a post-match press conference after losing to Berrettini, Alcaraz showed the determined attitude Wilander praised him for.

Despite the loss, the Spaniard said “I feel I’m close to the top players. Berrettini is World number seven as of today, and I almost defeated him.

“I’ve already beaten some Top ten players. With the level I showed today and the feelings I have, I think that I’m ready to be among those kinds of players.

“When I’ve played against the top players … I was close. I think I have the level to play against the top players.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.