Carlos Alcaraz has taken tennis to ‘whole new level’, claims former top 10 player
Former world No 7 Barbara Schett thinks Carlos Alcaraz is on a “different planet” physically and has taken tennis to a “whole new level.”
The three-time WTA Tour titlist also feels tennis will never have another rivalry like the ‘Big Three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Alcaraz has had an excellent 2023 season so far, winning four titles and 30 of his 33 matches. The 20-year-old’s triumphs came at tournaments in Buenos Aires, Indian Wells, Barcelona and Madrid.
The Spaniard suffered a shock defeat to Fabian Marozsan in the third round of the Italian Open last week, but overtook Djokovic to reclaim the ATP world No 1 spot on Monday.
Schett, a presenter and analyst for Eurosport, discussed the remarkable achievements of the Big Three and how Alcaraz could also benefit from having great rivals.
“Federer is irreplaceable. Everyone has to make their own history, and what we’ve witnessed the last 15 years with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic is incredible. I don’t think we’ll ever have a rivalry like that again,” Schett told Eurosport.
“Carlos Alcaraz is at one [Grand Slam title] now and still has a long way to go. He has to have a long career and be pushed by rivals too. It will be hard to see that again because they all play so differently. Federer had this elegance on the court and was practising so hard.
“We could not have thought Rafa would have such a long career because of his injuries and Djokovic moves like a 20-year-old on the court and has no weaknesses, really. I hope someone will follow in their footsteps.”
The Austrian then picked Alcaraz as her favourite to win the French Open and lauded the US Open champion’s talent.
“He [Alcaraz] is my favourite, the way he has played this year, the way he has played on clay. He has played a lot more tennis than Novak. He wants nothing more than winning the title. Carlos is winning tournaments left, right and centre. He has the experience and expertise,” Schett continued.
“Physically, he is on a different planet, but he also shows a lot of skill. It is a joy to watch him play, he is playing the best tennis of his life at the moment, but you can never write off Novak Djokovic as he has the experience of winning so many finals.
“He has taken tennis to a whole new level which we didn’t think was possible after witnessing the Big Three in the past. I think he can win it and I’m sure he will win it future. The only thing I worry about in the long-term is him physically and how his body will hold up over 15 years.
“I thought the exact same thing with Rafael Nadal, though, because of his physical game and his knee and foot problem, but then he has had such a long career. To me, if he is healthy, he will [be] No 1 for a good few years.”
The 2023 French Open will be held from May 28 to June 11.
READ MORE: ‘Carlos Alcaraz fractionally ahead of Novak Djokovic’
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