ATP

Alcaraz tipped for dominant career but Murray 'wouldn't predict 20-plus slams for anyone'

By Sports Desk March 23, 2023

Andy Murray believes Carlos Alcaraz can be a dominant figure in tennis "for as long as he wants" but cautioned against expecting him to challenge the grand slam records of the Big Three.

Roger Federer's haul of 20 slam titles has been overtaken by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who both have 22 majors, but those three are streets ahead of every other men's singles player in history.

Next on the list is Pete Sampras with 14 slams, which was itself a total that many once fancied would not be beaten for decades.

Murray was for a time part of a Big Four, until he got left behind by the relentless winning of his three great rivals. Federer has retired, but Djokovic and Nadal may yet have more slam titles in them.

At the age of 19, Alcaraz is already off the mark, winning the US Open last year, and he has jumped back to world number one after winning the Indian Wells Open on Sunday.

Djokovic and Nadal will be big threats to Alcaraz's hopes of triumphing at the French Open, but the young Spaniard is no longer simply the coming player on the ATP. He has arrived, and Murray is convinced Alcaraz is the real deal and poised to stay at the top of the sport for years to come.

"He has an excellent game, an all-around game that I think will translate well onto all surfaces," Murray said.

"He's not the biggest guy, but he can serve big. He's an unbelievable mover, great athlete. Has a lot of variety in his game. Takes the ball on a lot. That's something that you hope that he keeps.

"I know from experience that it's a bit easier playing that way when you're sort of 18, 19, and there's not any scar tissue there. I hope that he maintains that style of play because it's exciting to watch."

The prediction that Alcaraz can be an all-court player, and therefore succeed on grass as well as the hard and clay courts where he has already found success, bodes well for his prospects of stacking up slams.

Murray might have faced Alcaraz in round three at the Miami Open this fortnight, but the veteran Briton, a three-time slam winner and former number one, lost his opener on Wednesday to Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

There have only been two matches on tour between Alcaraz and Murray to date, both coming in the 2021 season when they won one each.

Alcaraz is the defending champion in Miami, and a clear favourite after crushing Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells title match. He brings a 14-1 record for the year into the tournament.

"He's obviously so far in his young career doing better than most of the guys that have come in the last eight to 10 years," Murray said.

"I know a lot of people are expecting everyone to win 20-plus grand slams now, like that's sort of normal. I wouldn't predict that for anyone.

"I would imagine he would be right at the top of the game for, well, as long as he wants to play."

Related items

  • Boris Becker ‘working hard with the authorities’ to return to Wimbledon in 2025 Boris Becker ‘working hard with the authorities’ to return to Wimbledon in 2025

    Boris Becker says he is “working hard with the authorities” to return to the UK and Wimbledon in 2025.

    The three-time Wimbledon men’s singles champion was deported from the UK in December 2022 after serving eight months of a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for hiding £2.5m of assets and loans in a bankruptcy fraud case.

    Becker cannot return to the UK until October 2024 at the earliest following his deportation, but the 56-year-old German plans to return to the tournament he says is “in my DNA” as soon as possible.

    “Wimbledon has been my favourite tournament as a player, coach and commentator,” Becker said at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Madrid.

    “It’s unique, you can’t compare it.

    “I lived in Wimbledon a long time so I’m working hard with the authorities to have all the applications ready to be back for next year. We’re working on 2025.

    “It’s a part of my life. It’s in my DNA, you can’t deny that.”

    Asked if he would be back in the Wimbledon commentary box, Becker replied: “I hope so.”

    Becker has not been involved in tennis since stepping down as Holger Rune’s head coach at the start of February.

    The pair spent less than four months together, but in that time the 20-year-old qualified for the ATP finals in Italy.

    ::The 25th Laureus World Sports Awards take place on Monday evening in Madrid. To find out more, and follow the ceremony, visit www.laureus.com

  • Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza announces retirement Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza announces retirement

    Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza has announced her retirement from tennis.

    The 30-year-old Spaniard won the French Open in 2016 before lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish on Centre Court the following summer but she had not played a competitive match since January 2023.

    At a press conference where she was announced as a Laureus Ambassador, Muguruza said: “If 25 years ago, when I started hitting my first tennis balls, someone had told me that I would become a professional tennis player, that I would fulfil my dream of winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon, that I would become number one in the world and win the WTA Finals, I would have thought this person was crazy.

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Women’s Tennis Association (@wta)

    “Tennis has given me a lot in this first part of my life. It has been a fantastic journey in which I have experienced unique situations. I have travelled all over the world and experienced many different cultures.

    “I am tremendously grateful to all the people who have helped and accompanied me throughout this chapter, because without them I would not have been able to get here.

    “I have grown and matured in a very different way than what can be considered normal, and now I am ready to start a new chapter in my life, which will surely be linked in some way to tennis and sports.

    “I hope that my collaboration with Laureus Sport for Good is the beginning of many more projects in which I can dedicate myself and help young people through sport.”

    Muguruza turned professional in 2012 and reached her first grand slam final three years later at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by Serena Williams.

    But the big-hitting Spaniard took revenge in 2016 when she stunned Williams in the final at Roland Garros, and a year later she beat Venus Williams to add the Wimbledon trophy to her collection.

    She climbed to the top of the rankings in September 2017, where she stayed for four weeks, but consistency was not Muguruza’s strong point and she slipped down the standings before a resurgence in 2020.

    Muguruza reached her fourth grand slam final at the Australian Open, losing to American Sofia Kenin, and she returned to the world’s top three at the end of 2021 after winning the WTA Finals for the first time.

    But the next season saw her plummet back down the rankings and her retirement comes as no surprise given her long hiatus from the sport.

  • Emma Raducanu’s run at Stuttgart Open ended by world number one Iga Swiatek Emma Raducanu’s run at Stuttgart Open ended by world number one Iga Swiatek

    Emma Raducanu’s progress in the Stuttgart Open was halted in straight sets by world number one Iga Swiatek.

    The Polish four-time grand slam champion, in her 100th week on top of the ATP world rankings, prevailed 7-6 (2) 6-3 to set up a semi-final showdown with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina.

    It was, however, an encouraging quarter-final performance from Raducanu, who has slipped to 303 in the world rankings after a torrid 2023.

    Raducanu came in to the contest on a high after winning four matches in a row for the first time since her US Open title in 2021 and raised confidence levels were reflected in the opening exchanges.

    Several booming returns from the 21-year-old Briton turned a 0-40 deficit into an immediate break of serve, but Swiatek levelled after edging a second game that featured seven deuces.

    That see-saw battle set the tone for a marathon 70-minute opening set which produced plenty of high-quality ground strokes from both sides of the net.

    The match went with serve from that point, with Raducanu superbly holding her nerve at 5-4 and 6-5 down to force the first set to a tie-break.

    Swiatek completely dominated the tie-break though, winning the first four points before closing it out 7-2.

    Raducanu was quickly in trouble again in the second set, falling 2-0 behind and covered in clay after losing her footing on the baseline.

    She continued to fight and fended off break points in her next two service games to stay in the match.

    But Swiatek kept up the pressure to finally end Raducanu’s resistance to move in to the last four.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.