Djokovic And Alcaraz Eyes History.

Times at Roland Garros: Serbian Player aims for Grand Slam Record in Nadal's absence, No. 1 Alcaraz has other ideas.

May 28, 2023 - 19:21
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Djokovic And Alcaraz Eyes History.
Djokovic and Alcaraz.

It's a sun-kissed Parisian spring. At Roland Garros, home of the French Open, it means the bounce is high and true, lending particularly to left-handed ware. Just the kind of spin Rafael Nadal romances. The muscular Spaniard, however, will not compete in the French capital this time, for the first time since making a winning debut here as a teenager in 2005,claiming 14 titles, amassing 112 match wins on this coral-hued surface. Nadal's compelling countryman-20 year-old Carlos Alcaraz, the top-seed-already has the throne, he is looking for another crown to herald a new era. Holger Rune, another 20-year old, is seeded six, and Jannik Sinner, 21,seeded eight, are in the bottom half of the draw. 

This is an impatient generation, but clay is the immediate test. Nouvak Djokovic, seeded three and ageless, is coming into his least successful major on rickety form, but he's going for more, the mantle of the Greatest of All Time. The Serb, elastic hips and with more mental tricks than a magician on a roll is tied with Nadal at 22 Grand Slams apiece. He will aim to make the record his own. Alcaraz and Djokovic are in the same half of the draw as the Australian Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. The long-haired Greek, seeded five, whose choice of shots is striking compared to his erratic word play, could run into Alcaraz in the last-eight. 

Alcaraz, who has all the shots for this surface, as he demonstrated in Barcelona and again in Madrid, winning back-to-back titles, was bounced out of the third round in Rome by Fabian Marozsan. Alcaraz hasn't been stranded on the wrong side of a scoreline against a player ranked outside the top-100 since November 2021. The Rome Masters was claimed by the World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, about as likely a successor to Nadal on clay as punk to art music. The Russian has a 28-25 career win-loss record on clay, he is 10-2 on the surface this year. "A new generation is here already. Obviously Alcaraz is playing amazing tennis. We have been saying for years that we can expect that moment to come when you have a shift of generations. I am personally still trying to hang in there, " Said Djokovic. 

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