French Open: Alcaraz threatens to gatecrash Djokovic and Nadal party in Paris | Tennis News

Record champion Rafael Nadal is locked in the all-time Grand Slam battle with world number one Djokovic Djokovic going to the French Open but both were defeated by teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz.

Nadal, a 13-time award winner on the red clay of Paris, is far from his irresistible excellence in nursing a long-lasting ankle injury in the build-up to Roland Garros.

The Australian Open champion enjoyed an early exit with his most recent tournament win in February in Madrid and Rome.

Counting the injured 35-year-old Spaniard as his comeback win by two sets against Russian Daniel Medvedev in this year’s Australian Open final comes with a warning.

Nadal’s stunning victory saw him become the first male player to reach 21 Grand Slam titles, surpassing Roger Federer and Djokovic on the all-time list.

Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and his subsequent deportation amid a media frenzy, is desperate to win in Paris and level with Nadal’s major achievement.

The Serb, who turns 35 this week and looks to be back on track after his tumultuous start to the year, won the title in Rome last week with a straight set victory over fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

Djokovic is no stranger to making a comeback on the big stage, winning the title last year in Paris after overcoming two sets of Tsitsipas.

The flourishing Greek, who has won his last three titles on clay, has long been recognized as a Grand Slam winner, and sadly came close last year.

But he looks over the shoulder of 19-year-old Alcaraz, who is ready to jump in the queue.

The teenager has taken the tennis world by storm with four titles this year, including Miami and Madrid, and will be arriving in Paris, which has been established as one of the award favorites.

The big-smiling Spaniard, who qualified just 12 months ago, may be stunned by his progress this year, but he shows no signs or interest in slowing down the world ranking.

“Yes, I’m ready to win a Grand Slam and go for it,” said the world’s sixth-ranked player, who beat both Nadal and Djokovic on their way to the Madrid title in early May.

“My goal is to try to get my first Grand Slam this year. Let’s see what happens at Roland Garros.”

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