Novak Djokovic has heaped the pressure on Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz by claiming the teenage sensation is one of the hot favourites to land this year’s French Open title. Alcaraz defeated Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on his way to winning the Madrid Open last week.
“[At] Roland Garros, he’s definitely one of the main favourites, no doubt, even though he has never reached the second week of a Grand Slam,” Djokovic said of Alcaraz. “With everything recently that he has achieved, he deserves to be one of the favourites.
“He definitely is special. Already he’s breaking a lot of records as a teenager, winning two Masters events this year, a couple of [ATP] 500s. So far he’s the best player in the world, no question, this year. The way he was dealing with the pressure. I mean, in our match a few days ago, how calm he was all the way, was impressive. He deserved to win the trophy.”
And Djokovic’s comments echo those of Nadal, who has claimed the 19-year-old can “beat anyone in the world.” After being dispatched by Alcaraz in the Madrid Open quarter-finals, Nadal said: “He plays a lot with moods, when his adrenaline goes up he’s practically unstoppable. Then of course he makes mistakes because he plays with a lot of risk. I think he has the level to beat anyone in the world, without a doubt.”
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And his transition onto clay has been seamless as he won the Barcelona Open last month thanks to a victory over Pablo Carreno Busta in the showpiece event, before getting the better of Alexander Zverev in the Madrid final.
“Everybody knows the amount of confidence he has right now, the level that he can reach,” Nadal added. [I’m] happy for him, happy because we have an amazing player in our country for a lot of years to come.”