ATP

Alcaraz already in line to succeed Djokovic and Nadal – Haas

By Sports Desk February 27, 2023

Tommy Haas says Carlos Alcaraz is already primed to succeed Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the very top of tennis.

Alcaraz became the youngest men's world number one when he won his maiden grand slam title at the US Open last year.

The Spaniard missed this year's Australian Open due to an injury, allowing Djokovic to reclaim his place at the summit of the rankings with his 10th triumph in Melbourne.

Djokovic celebrated a record-breaking 378th week at number one on Monday, the day after Alcaraz had fallen short against Cameron Norrie in the Rio Open final.

Alcaraz, who has already won seven singles titles, battled through pain in Brazil but ultimately slipped to a 5-7 6-4 7-5 defeat against the opponent he beat in the Argentina Open final a week earlier.

With the 19-year-old having already reached 10 tour-level finals, though, former world number two Haas has no doubt Alcaraz is in line to enjoy success close to that of Djokovic and Nadal.

"Yes, you have to say that he already is [ready]," Haas told Stats Perform.

"He had an unbelievable year last year, right. I think he won a title down there in Rio, on clay then he came to Indian Wells playing extremely good tennis, losing a tough battle match against Rafa in the quarters.

 

"They played some incredible tennis and you could just tell the way he moves on the court, his mental toughness and the shot selection that he has, the repertoire there is, there's nothing really missing.

"Being that young sometimes can be like the only hindrance in my mind because maybe you want it too much, or you overthink things. Or maybe in this case, you clearly don't overthink things, and you just go out and play your best and fight and give it everything you have.

"A lot of respect obviously goes to his team, his family, his coach. He just kind of went on that run, winning [in] Madrid, in his home country. And then winning his first slam, the US Open and being the youngest world number one, so what a quick rise. Just unreal, I can't even imagine how his life has been turned upside down in many ways."

The only concern, as far as Haas sees it, is Alcaraz's injury worries.

"He's a guy that wants to stick around, and remain up there at the top for a very, very long time," Haas added.

"With his game, and his potential, if he stays healthy... that's the thing, he's been already a little bit injured at a young age. So, that's a little bit of a warning sign.

"If he can remain healthy, I think that's where the team is obviously very smart. I think they're trying to build up his body still, to sustain the crazy amount of travel and the stress on the body that tennis creates on you to make sure that he has a long career, because that's what everybody hopes and dreams for."

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