Carlos Alcaraz has chance to take over men’s tennis with historic French Open victory

    Carlos Alcaraz earned a historic victory in his French Open semifinal match against Jannik Sinner on Friday in five sets (2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3).

    Now, Alcaraz can officially become the face of men’s tennis and the top player in the game.

    The Spaniard is a generational talent, and his best years are ahead of him.

    Each member of the sport’s Big Three on the men’s side is either out of the picture, soon to be retired or in danger of fading.

    Roger Federer announced his retirement in September 2022. Rafael Nadal is all but certain to follow his longtime friendly rival soon.

    It’d be foolish to count out Novak Djokovic, but the all-time leader in Grand Slam singles titles (24) is probably on the back nine of his career, having recently withdrawn from Roland-Garros and undergone knee surgery.

    Federer and Djokovic were 24 when they reached a Grand Slam final on clay, grass and hardcourt, with Alcaraz’s fellow countryman accomplishing the feat at 22.

    With the younger crew of competitors, Alcaraz has other twentysomethings to keep an eye on, but if he can win on Sunday, he’ll be three-quarters of the way to a career Grand Slam. Only eight men’s players have ever accomplished a career slam (Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Andre Agassi, Don Budge, Fred Perry, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).

    Alcaraz won the 2022 U.S. Open for his first major championship victory and earned the 2023 Wimbledon crown. He’s had three tries at the Australian Open since joining the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) in 2020, and while he’s waiting for his first finals appearance down under, he’s trending up. Alcaraz made it to the second round in 2021 and the third round in 2022, and after withdrawing last year due to a hamstring injury, he fell to Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals in January.

    He’s also advanced further each year at the French Open and Wimbledon since 2020 and has reached the quarterfinals, finals and semifinals during the last three U.S. Opens.

    Alcaraz is the No. 3-ranked player in the world, but with Djokovic (No. 1) and Sinner (No. 2) gone from the field in Paris, his last test comes on Sunday.

    He awaits the winner of world No. 4 Alexander Zverev (27 years old) and No. 7 Casper Ruud (25 years old).

    Zverev has made three straight French Open semifinals and advanced to the 2020 US Open finals against Dominic Thiem but has yet to earn a major victory. Ruud has lost in the last two French Open finals, falling to Nadal in 2022 and Djokovic in 2023. His only other Grand Slam finals appearance resulted in a loss to Alcaraz at the 2022 U.S. Open.

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