‘Carlos Alcaraz will win Roland Garros this year unless something amazing happens. He’s the real deal’

‘Carlos Alcaraz will win Roland Garros this year unless something amazing happens. He’s the real deal’

Former doubles world No 1 Paul McNamee believes Carlos Alcaraz is the clear favourite to win this year’s French Open as he declared it was “almost a miracle” that the Spaniard didn’t win the title last year.

Just over 12 months ago, Alcaraz started the clay-court Grand Slam as the man to beat as he was the top seed and he arrived in Paris on the back of winning the Barcelona Open and the Madrid Open.

After steamrolling his way to the semi-final, the Spaniard came unstuck against tennis great Novak Djokovic as he went down 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, 6-1 against the eventual champion.

Alcaraz admitted after the match that he struggled with the pressure, but a month later he went on to beat Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

The 20-year-old’s build-up to this year’s French Open has been different as he missed his Barcelona title defence as well as the Monte Carlo Masters due to a forearm injury, but has made a solid start at the Madrid Open.

Four-time Grand Slam doubles champion McNamee admits he was shocked that Alcaraz didn’t win last year’s French Open as he sung his praises as he admitted he would be surprised if he fails to win this year’s title.

“The grand masters [of clay] are Rafael Nadal and Bjorn Borg. Next in line will be Carlos Alcaraz,” the Australian said on The AO Show podcast

“It is almost a miracle he didn’t win the French Open last year, and he will win it this year unless something amazing happens.

“This guy is that good. He’s the real deal. He’s got it all. He could win 10 Roland Garrosses. We’re not saying 14 like Rafa, but for me he is far and away the best player on clay right now.

“The last few years I have been at Roland Garros I just had to watch Alcaraz because it just brings me joy seeing what he is doing, the drop shots, the angles, the mixing of the power with the finesse, his all-court mastery, grew up in Spain.

“He is not linear, Jannik Sinner is linear, Alcaraz is not, and there is a difference.”

Alcaraz is currently No 3 in the ATP Rankings behind Djokovic and Sinner and if he remains there for the seedings at Roland Garros then he will likely have to beat both of them if he is to win the title.

This year will mark his fourth main draw appearance at the clay-court Grand Slam as he reached the third round on his debut in 2021, the quarter-final in 2022 and the semi-final last year.

READ MORE: Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz backed to become ‘the big two’ in Grand Slam title prediction

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