Alex Corretja has placed Carlos Alcaraz, a young compatriot, among the favourites to win the French Open this year. With his first Masters 1000 victory, the newly minted Miami Open champion has risen to 11th in the ATP rankings.
Former world number two Corretja believes 18-year-old Alcaraz has a chance to win Roland Garros for the first time, as he did in 1998 and 2001.
“He is going to be among the top three or four players”- Alex Corretja
In an interview with Eurosport, Corretja said, “Alcaraz has got a real shot of winning Roland Garros, for sure. He is going to be among the top three or four players to win the tournament. We need to see how the clay season goes, but definitely, right now, nobody likes to play against him, because you know that you will suffer.”
“You see a guy that is flying on the court, he hits the ball hard, he defends well, and of course, you see that he is going to fight until the end.”
Alcaraz had previously shown his credentials in mental competition by reaching the semi-finals of both Indian Wells and Miami, even before winning the latter, as Corretja points out. “He has proved that his emotions, he is controlling them very well,” the Spaniard added.
“Even if it’s a tie-break in the third [set], in very close moments, he knows how to deal with that. He is acting like he has lots of experience, but he is still very young. So that shows that he is very smart, very clever. He is very professional,” the Spaniard concluded.
Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest men’s singles champion in Miami Open
The victory at Miami makes the Spaniard, who is just a month away from his 19th birthday the second-youngest finalist, behind Rafael Nadal in 2005, who was about a month younger than Alcaraz is now, although Nadal lost to Roger Federer in the championship match. Also, the young Spaniard became the youngest champion in Miami Open history — Novak Djokovic was 19 when he won the tournament, then the NASDAQ-100 Open, for the first time — and picked up $1,231,245 US for the victory, nearly doubling his career earnings with one check.
Nevertheless, as a result of his victory in Miami, Alcaraz will now be ranked No. 11 in the world, just outside the top ten. He set a target of breaking the world’s top 15 by the end of the year for the 2022 season, but he has already surpassed it just four months in.