Friday, December 8, 2023

Alcaraz rival makes bold claim as Djokovic and Nadal could face threat

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Thanasi Kokkinakis has made a bold claim about Carlos Alcaraz’s career as he prepares to face the world No 2 in Indian Wells. The Australian believes that the 19-year-old has the ability to surpass Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam total by the end of his career, leaving their records under threat.

Alcaraz is set to play his first match since getting injured in the Rio Open final and subsequently withdrawing from Acapulco and cancelling his Las Vegas exhibition. The teenager is the top seed in Indian Wells and will meet Kokkinakis after the world No 94 came through qualifying and won his first main draw match against Brandon Holt.

It will be the first meeting between the pair and Kokkinakis has already talked up his rival. The Aussie claims Alcaraz has a “shot” at smashing Djokovic and Nadal’s men’s singles Grand Slam record – which currently stands at 22 titles and is likely to increase before both men retire.

“It’s not just that he’s got no weaknesses, but he just plays with great energy,” the former Australian Open doubles champion said of the world No 2. “He plays tennis the right way. He’s always up and about, he’s always smiling.”

Kokkinakis also revealed that Alcaraz was one of his favourite players to watch, and could understand why the US Open champion always pulled in a crown. He continued: “I think the crowd loves watching him because his energy is almost contagious.

“He’s one of my favourite players to watch. Whenever he’s playing, I try to tune in if I’ve got time. I just like the way he plays. He’s got good firepower, he’s lightning quick, he’s got good hands.”

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