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Alcaraz is a “phenomenon”

AS spoke to several tennis legends who were unanimous in their admiration for the 20-year-old Spanish player.

Paris (France), 06/06/2023.- Carlos Alcaraz of Spain plays Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in their Men's quarterfinal match during the French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 06 June 2023. (Tenis, Abierto, Francia, Grecia, España) EFE/EPA/CAROLINE BLUMBERG

As Carlos Alcaraz continues to generate headlines across the world of sport, AS caught up with some of the iconic names from the game who had gathered in the French capital to participate in the traditional Roland Garros legend tournaments. Everyone sees the 20-year-old as the favorite in this year’s competition as he prepares to face Novak Djokovic in the semi-final and already consider the player from Murcia as a benchmark player for years to come.

Sergi Bruguera (52), two-time champion in Paris was excited when speaking about Alcaraz: “He is the one who is playing the best and is in an excellent vein of form. He’s a Grand Slam winner and it’s no surprise how physically and mentally tough he is. When he won in Miami he opened a new chapter in his career” stated Bruguera. “I don’t see any tennis player like Rafa (Nadal), Djokovic and Federer in this new generation, except Carlos, who is the only one who has the qualities of those big names. Right now, there is no other player competing at his level”, he added.

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‘Focused’ Alcaraz

Gabriela Sabatini (53), winner of the US Open and a five-time semifinalist at the French major is fascinated by the player from Murcia: “It’s incredible to watch him play. I saw him a lot in Buenos Aires and I had the chance to meet him. I love how athletic he is on the court, but what’s going to take him a long way is his mental fortitude and it’s incredible to see how positive he is all the time, pushing himself along… He loses a point and immediately focuses on the next.”

Gabriela Sabatini
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Gabriela Sabatini LUIS ROBAYOAFP

Michael Chang, who won his only major title at Roland Garros in 1989, thinks that “Carlos is an exceptional player. I don’t know him personally, but I’ve seen him interact with people, with children... and he does it wonderfully. He is a great ambassador for tennis. Despite being Spanish, he does not confirm to the stereotypical way we see players from Spain. He can play from the baseline, but also attack and when he goes to the net and he’s confident and charismatic, that’s why everyone enjoys watching him”, says the 51-year-old American, who sees Alcaraz as favourite to edge out No. 3 seed Djokovic in Friday’s semi-final and believes that “Alcaraz will do well in Paris for many years.”