Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s chances of making Grand Slam history could be under threat at the French Open. Carlos Alcaraz has started what has been dubbed “project Paris” as he has his sights set on winning the clay-court Major.
Alcaraz is starting his clay season in Barcelona this week, where he is the top seed and defending champion. The world No 2 has made it no secret that he is eyeing the French Open, and the ATP 500 event marks the start of his “project” to win a second Major crown.
The teenager raised some concerns when he pulled out of last week’s Monte Carlo Masters after suffering problems with his hand and spine. But his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero has confirmed that Alcaraz is raring to go as he looks to taste some success on the clay in the run-up to Roland Garros.
“He is training well, adapting to the courts, to the balls and making the transition from the hard court to clay,” Ferrero – himself a former French Open champion – told Relevo.
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“Little by little he is feeling better.” It comes as bad news for Djokovic and Nadal, who are hungrier than ever to pick up another title at the French Open.
Both are tied on the men’s singles Grand Slam record of 22 titles apiece and will be bidding to draw ahead with a 23rd in Paris. But Alcaraz has already proved to be a credible threat to their legacy when he won the 2022 US Open – earning the title of the ATP’s youngest No 1 while becoming the first teenager to win a Major since Nadal himself.
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The 19-year-old also defeated Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back en route to the Madrid Masters title last year, showing his ability to defeat the two tennis legends on the clay. And Alcaraz has already made it clear that he wants to go a step further this year by winning the biggest title possible on the surface – the French Open.
“Roland Garros is the next Grand Slam and for me it’s a very, very good goal and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said during last month’s Miami Open. Alcaraz hasn’t competed at a Major tournament since winning last year’s US Open, as he pulled out of Australia with a leg injury. And he could upset Djokovic and Nadal make it two in a row in Paris.
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