Chris Evert makes Carlos Alcaraz claim that may rile Djokovic and Nadal fans
Tennis legend Chris Evert has not held back in her verdict on who should be hailed as the favourite to lift the French Open title – as she insists Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal can no longer be considered the favourites.
Speaking at a Eurosport event ahead of the French Open, the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion insisted Carlos Alcaraz deserves to be hailed as the favorite to lift his first title at Roland-Garros in a tournament that gets underway later this month.
While Evert accepts her comments may be viewed as dismissive of tennis legends Djokovic and Nadal – who are tied on 22 major titles each in the race to be recognized as the greatest player of all-time – she argues the evidence on the court means Alcaraz is the strong favorite to prevail in Paris.
“When I look at Novak and Rafa, there are question marks about their health,” said Evert.
“These two have been the greatest clay court players of the last few years, but as they get older they get a little bit injured and we don’t know what their status will be.
“So I think Alcaraz is primed for this title at the French Open.
“Like everyone else, I am jumping on the bandwagon with Carlos because we have never seen a player with so much passion and so much hunger in such a long time.
“The guy has it all; he’s got the athleticism, the skillset, he knows defense, he knows offence and he has no weaknesses.
“To me, if he keeps himself healthy and hungry, I think the title is his (in Paris).
“If Novak and Rafa were not injured, I would have a different view and when Rafa is 80 years old, I wouldn’t rule him out from winning the French Open!
“So I am not dismissing them, but I just feel their preparation isn’t great, but Novak and Rafa have superior experience.
“They know better than anyone how to navigate their careers and they know how to manage their emotions. They also favour the majors more than anyone.
“They could come out of the starting gate playing vintage tennis, but on current form, you would have to slightly favour Alcaraz.”
Evert went on to suggest she is hoping to see Alcaraz take on Djokovic and Nadal in a best of five-set match on the red clay, as the new rising star of the game aims to confirm his status as the king in waiting.
“Wouldn’t it be great to see Alcaraz playing a healthy Nadal,” added Evert.
“If you ask me what match I’d like to see, I’d say Rafa v Carlos, second only to Novak and Carlos.
“We could see some outsiders coming through. Jannik Sinner has come a long way and working with Darren Cahill has made him more professional and made him stronger physically.
“He has gone toe-to-toe with Carlos a few times, but I would still back Alcaraz to come through and take the title given what we have seen on the court in the first weeks of this clay-court season.”
Alcaraz made it through to the quarter-finals at the French Open last year, but he is a player who has taken his career to the next level since then.
After his US Open win last September, Alcaraz has emerged as the player to beat in the men’s game and he will get a chance to confirm he is the new king of clay at the French Open.
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