Carlos Alcaraz has named himself and the injured Rafael Nadal as part of a quartet shortlisted to be the final man at Roland Garros this year.
This year marks Alcaraz’s third visit to Paris – in 2011. He lost in the third round in his first tournament in 2021 and in the quarter-finals last year – and many believe he is the clear favorite to win this year’s clay court Grand Slam. I really enjoyed the perfect build up to the French Open.
Asked about his French Open favourites, the world No 2 replied: “I don’t know. [Stefanos] Tsitsipas is there, he is in good shape. [Novak] Djokovic will always be the favourite, if Rafa goes it will always be his competition… I have put myself at that level, I am at a good level, confidence and results.
And he has reason to believe that his status and confidence are at a good level.
Alcaraz successfully defended his Barcelona Open crown two weeks ago after withdrawing from the Monte Carlo Masters due to injury and is just one victory away from doing the same at the Madrid Open.
The same cannot be said for traditional Grand Slam favorites Novak Djokovic and Nadal, who have so far struggled with injuries.
Nadal has been unable to play on clay as he continues to battle a hip injury – of course you have to return to the Australian Open in mid-January, the last time he played a tournament match. After pulling out of the Italian Open, there are doubts that he will play in Paris.
Djokovic had an injury-plagued clay campaign with an elbow injury in Monte Carlo before opting to skip this week’s Madrid Open to rest his hand. The Serbian, however, is due to return to Rome next week and should be fit for Roland Garros.
Citipass, on the other hand, reached the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo and finished second to Alcaraz in Barcelona before reaching the quarter-finals in Madrid.
Following Friday’s semi-final win over Borna Coric in the Spanish capital, Alcaraz was also asked about receiving respect from his rivals.
“I’m realizing that I’m getting a little bit more respect from the players and people around the circuit,” he said. “I understand that it is very difficult to beat me on the court, not outside, I have noticed that the best players get less respect. I think I’m slowly getting it.
As for being one of the best players in the world – Alcaraz is set to return to No. 1 in the ATP rankings as he overtakes Novak Djokovic in Rome. Current status.
“I don’t feel that I am the best player in the world, I think about myself and try to do my best, but I don’t feel that I am superior to anyone else,” he said.
“Tsitsipas lost, but that doesn’t mean I’m the best or I’ll win. Struff and Karatsev deserve to be there, but just because I’m number two doesn’t mean I’m going to win the final. We pay attention and do not take anything for granted.
Watch: The best of teenage Carlos Alcaraz