Novak Djokovic's staggering Rafael Nadal remark on Carlos Alcaraz ahead of French Open semifinal clash
Ahead of the blockbuster clash, Djokovic made a staggering Rafael Nadal comparison remark on Alcaraz.
World tennis or French Open crowd in particular will be in for a treat on Friday evening when Novak Djokovic will be up against world no.1 Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-final match on Court Philippe Chatrier, aiming for a place in the final. It has been the match that all have been waiting for since the announcement for the draw two weeks back and their dominating run to the penultimate round of the competition has granted that wish to the fans. Ahead of the blockbuster clash, Djokovic made a staggering Rafael Nadal comparison remark on Alcaraz.
All of just 20, Alcaraz is aiming for his second Grand Slam title. Having defeated Casper Ruud in the final last September in the US Open, Alcaraz had lifted maiden major in New York. He later missed the Australian Open owing to an injury, where Djokovic had lifted his 22nd Grand Slam title and 10th in Melbourne, but is now raring to make up for the miss with a second Slam of his career in Paris. His staggering rise in world tennis, and dominance across surface sees him being widely regarded as the heir of the Big Three.
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After a win against Karen Khachanov in the quarters, Djokovic was asked about the impact of Alcaraz in the sport, although the young Spaniard was still then due to make his qualification in the semis, the Serb compared him to Nadal. Djokovic said: "Well, he carries himself very well. No doubt very nice guy on and off the court. Brings a lot of intensity on the court. Reminds me of someone [Rafa Nadal] from his country that plays with a left hand (smiling). He deserves his success, no doubt. He's working hard, and he very complete player already and only age 20 - 19, 20?
"So we played only once in Madrid last year, 7-6 in the third for him. We haven't played since. Yeah, you're right, most of the tournaments this year we were not in the same draw but here we are. If it comes to that match, that's the match that, you know, a lot of people want to see.
"It's definitely the biggest challenge for me, you know, so far in the tournament. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. He's definitely a guy to beat here. I'm looking forward to that.
"But, he has to win against Tsitsipas, let's not forget about that. We cannot disrespect Stefanos who has played finals here and is top, top player for many years. So let's see what happens tonight."
Alcaraz on Wednesday made his maiden Roland Garros semis after a straight-set win against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Last year. In his maiden year in 2021, he had made a third-round exit before bettering it with a quarterfinal show in 2022.