Alcaraz tipped for dominant career but Murray 'wouldn't predict 20-plus slams for anyone'
Andy Murray believes Carlos Alcaraz can be a dominant figure in tennis "for as long as he wants" but cautioned against expecting him to challenge the grand slam records of the Big Three.
Roger Federer's haul of 20 slam titles has been overtaken by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who both have 22 majors, but those three are streets ahead of every other men's singles player in history.
Next on the list is Pete Sampras with 14 slams, which was itself a total that many once fancied would not be beaten for decades.
Murray was for a time part of a Big Four, until he got left behind by the relentless winning of his three great rivals. Federer has retired, but Djokovic and Nadal may yet have more slam titles in them.
At the age of 19, Alcaraz is already off the mark, winning the US Open last year, and he has jumped back to world number one after winning the Indian Wells Open on Sunday.
Djokovic and Nadal will be big threats to Alcaraz's hopes of triumphing at the French Open, but the young Spaniard is no longer simply the coming player on the ATP. He has arrived, and Murray is convinced Alcaraz is the real deal and poised to stay at the top of the sport for years to come.
"He has an excellent game, an all-around game that I think will translate well onto all surfaces," Murray said.
"He's not the biggest guy, but he can serve big. He's an unbelievable mover, great athlete. Has a lot of variety in his game. Takes the ball on a lot. That's something that you hope that he keeps.
"I know from experience that it's a bit easier playing that way when you're sort of 18, 19, and there's not any scar tissue there. I hope that he maintains that style of play because it's exciting to watch."
The prediction that Alcaraz can be an all-court player, and therefore succeed on grass as well as the hard and clay courts where he has already found success, bodes well for his prospects of stacking up slams.
Murray might have faced Alcaraz in round three at the Miami Open this fortnight, but the veteran Briton, a three-time slam winner and former number one, lost his opener on Wednesday to Serbian Dusan Lajovic.
There have only been two matches on tour between Alcaraz and Murray to date, both coming in the 2021 season when they won one each.
Alcaraz is the defending champion in Miami, and a clear favourite after crushing Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells title match. He brings a 14-1 record for the year into the tournament.
"He's obviously so far in his young career doing better than most of the guys that have come in the last eight to 10 years," Murray said.
"I know a lot of people are expecting everyone to win 20-plus grand slams now, like that's sort of normal. I wouldn't predict that for anyone.
"I would imagine he would be right at the top of the game for, well, as long as he wants to play."