Alcaraz Is 'Real Deal' On Clay And 'Could Win 10 Roland Garros Titles' Says McNamee

Alcaraz Is 'Real Deal' On Clay And 'Could Win 10 Roland Garros Titles' Says McNamee

by Nurein Ahmed

Former doubles No. 1 Paul McNamee is backing Carlos Alcaraz to win as many as ten titles at Roland Garros.

Alcaraz grew up playing on clay, a surface that resonates with many Spanish players. The greatest Spanish tennis player of all, Rafael Nadal, inspires the newer generation as he continues to be the benchmark on the surface.

Alcaraz, who is part of this new wave of Spanish talent, has yet to win the Roland Garros crown, which Nadal has lifted a record 14 times and is preparing to launch a new bid for a 15th title this year.

The 20-year-old came close on two occasions, most notably in 2023, where he advanced to the semifinal stage only to suffer a bout of cramps while playing World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Alcaraz lost the match in four sets, with this body betraying him at the most opportune moment.

Recently, McNamee, a former Australian Open and Wimbledon doubles champion, spoke on The AO Show podcast. He explained that it was a "miracle" that Alcaraz didn't win the French Open last year in Nadal's absence but is backing the young Spaniard to do so in 2024.

The 69-year-old made the outlandish prediction that Alcaraz might be the closest man to get to Nadal's record of 14 titles at the clay slam because he's the current best player on clay.

"It's almost a miracle he didn't win it last year, and he will win it this year unless something amazing happens. This guy is that good. He's the real deal. He's got it all. He could win 10 Roland Garrosses. We're not saying 14 like Rafa, but this guy is far and away the best player on clay."

McNamee likened the clay court surface in tennis to a chess board, naming Nadal and six-time French Open champion Bjorn Borg the "grand masters." He is tipping Alcaraz to succeed them.

"A clay court is a chess board, so the grand masters are Rafael Nadal and Bjorn Borg. The next line is Carlos Alcaraz."


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