Alcaraz and Sinner open new tennis era as Zverev and Ruud do their own thing

Alcaraz y Sinner
Jannik Sinner y Carlos Alcaraz se saludan tras los cuartos de final del US Open 2022
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PARIS – When Carlos Alcaraz won the 2022 US Open, a new era of tennis was born without the old one having died yet, but with either Alcaraz or Jannik Siner in the final of the French Open on Sunday, the new era of tennis will definitely have begun.

It will be Alcaraz or Sinner who will face Alexander Zverev or Casper Ruud in the final, but the big, big fact of that final is that neither Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic nor Roger Federer will be there. You have to go back to 2004, with the final between Argentines Gaston Gaudio and Guillermo Coria, to see something like that: no member of the ‘big three’ in the definition of Roland Garros.

But there are things that remain, phrases that sound like those twenty golden years of men’s tennis.

‘I am grateful to have Jannik on the tour, to have him there, because in the end thanks to him he makes me be a better player, he makes me get up in the morning, want to improve, want to train to try to raise my level to beat him,’ said Alcaraz after advancing to the semi-finals.

“To be there fighting for big things with him. I think, as I said also, when the draw came out, I think everybody wanted that semi-final between Jannik and me.”

You could change ‘Jannik’ and ‘Carlos’ to ‘Roger’ and ‘Rafael’ and it wouldn’t sound strange at all: what the Spaniard says is very similar to what Nadal and Federer said about each other.

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What’s more: Alcaraz and Sinner are already receiving those hyperbolic-style compliments that Nadal and Federer were used to.

From Mats Wilander, for example. The Swede, a former world number one and current Eurosport commentator, says the 2022 US Open quarter-final between Alcaraz and Sinner is the best tennis match he has ever seen. And he saw a lot, a lot of Wilander.

The head-to-head record between the Italian, the new world number one as of Monday, and Alcaraz is tied at four. ‘And I’m looking forward to it being in my favour,’ said the Spaniard with a smile from ear to ear.

The one between Zverev and Ruud is also tied, in this case a 2-2, with the very close antecedent of a 6-3, 6-4 and 6-0 of the Norwegian on the German in the semifinal of Roland Garros 2023, the same instance that will measure them this Saturday.

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