‘Carlos Alcaraz could become second most important player ever after GOAT Roger Federer’

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Mats Wilander has proclaimed that Carlos Alcaraz could become the “second most important player” in tennis history as he likened him to tennis legend Roger Federer.

The former world No 1 believes more is expected of Alcaraz than winning matches in the same way as Federer, while he labelled the Swiss icon the greatest player of all time.

Alcaraz is currently ranked third in the world after Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, having won his first title in eight months at the Indian Wells Masters in March.

After his successful title defence at the Masters 1000 event in California, the 20-year-old was beaten in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open last week by eventual runner-up Grigor Dimitrov.

The two-time Grand Slam champion will next feature at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he will play either Felix Auger-Aliassime or a qualifier in his opening match.

Speaking to Eurosport, Wilander claimed Alcaraz will not achieve the same level of rankings dominance as Djokovic, but argued he will become an even more important figure in tennis.

“No, I don’t believe that he can do that (be world No 1 for 400 weeks). And when I see Carlos Alcaraz play tennis, it reminds me so much of the great Roger Federer,” assessed the Swede.

“Again, I normally call him (Federer) the greatest player of all time, and that has nothing to do with the statistics or the results. It has to do with what he meant for the sport, the expectations that people had.

“Carlos Alcaraz is going through the same thing. People are expecting more than a player winning matches. The opponents of Carlos Alcaraz, they love it. They love playing against him, just like Grigor Dimitrov, because it’s fun.

“He hits drop shots, he comes to the net. The fact that Roger Federer was able to stay on top for so long without having that mental intimidation towards his opponents, to me, is one of the reasons why I think he’s the most important tennis player to ever play our sport.

“I think Carlos Alcaraz could become the second most important tennis player to ever play our sport because of what he brings to the court.

“But that doesn’t mean that the consistency in the rankings is going to be in the same way as a Novak Djokovic or even like a Jannik Sinner. It’s not the way he plays tennis.”

The seven-time Grand Slam champion also compared the expectations placed on Alcaraz to entertain fans to that experienced by Nick Kyrgios.

“Carlos Alcaraz is dealing with something that maybe Nick Kyrgios had to deal with at times, which is people are expecting more of Carlos Alcaraz than just winning tennis matches. They are expecting him to hit great shots, to make these unbelievable saves defensively and then turn it around,” Wilander continued.

“I think for him, it’s going to be quite tiring throughout a whole career to always feel like not only does he have to win, but he does feel like I have to perform in the entertainment part. I think falling out of the top two, it’s most probably a little bit of a relief.”

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