Djokovic says ‘special’ Alcaraz is a firm favourite for French Open | Tennis News – Times of India

World number one Novak Djokovic has praised newly-crowned Madrid Open champion Carlos Alcaraz, saying the Spanish teenager is a strong favorite for the French Open later this month.
Alcaraz announced himself in Madrid when he played with a sore ankle but still sent three top five players – Rafa Nadal, Djokovic and Alexander Zaverev – to his second Masters title just days after his 19th birthday.
Djokovic described Alcaraz as a “complete player” and the Spaniard as a “sports talker” after winning a tour-leading fourth title of the year.
“He’s definitely special. He’s already broken a lot of records as a teenager, winning two Masters events this year, a few (ATP) 500. So far he’s the best player in the world, no question, this year,” Djokovic told reporters in Rome.
“The way he was coping with the pressure. I mean, in our match a few days ago, how calm he was … impressive. He deserved to win the trophy.
“(A) Roland Garros, he is definitely one of the main favorites, no doubt, although he never reached the second week of the Grand Slam. He deserves to be one of the favorites with what he has achieved recently.”
Alcaraz felt the torch had been extinguished by beating compatriot Nadal for the first time in his career in the quarter-finals in Madrid, and the 21-time Grand Slam champion said he was happy that Spanish tennis had a bright future.
“Everyone knows the level of confidence he has now, the level he can reach,” said Nadal.
“Winning at home has always been special. (It must have been) a very special week for him.”
Alcaraz says he is avoiding the Rome Masters to recover from an ankle injury to ensure he is fully fit for the French Open, which starts on May 22.

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