American tennis legend Jimmy Connors believes a generational change is finally underway in tennis as he looks to Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Holger Rune to create the next great rivalries. After two decades of sheer dominance by the Big Three, the game has landed new Grand Slam and Masters champions in 2022.
Alcaraz, 19, has won a Grand Slam and two Masters this year and is also the youngest No. 1 in the history of tennis. The 19-year-old Rune recently became Masters champion after upsetting Novak Djokovic in the Paris final. Of the new generation, Alcaraz is the one that is standing out.
However, it is very clear that there are other very promising players who could do great things one day. "Now, we are looking at a replacement for the three who have dominated the last 20 years: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.
These guys are stepping up. But it's one thing to step up in Paris and another in Australia, Paris [the French Open], Wimbledon and the US Open. It's good to see these youngsters and how they're starting out, because no one was stepping up.
We were waiting for it, and now it has started to happen. You know what the fun is going to be: Alcaraz, Sinner, Felix, Rune all playing with each other. Those are the next Federer, Nadal and Djokovic," Connors said on the Advantage Connors podcast, according to Sportskeeda.
From the younger generation, Alcaraz was the first to break into a Grand Slam. At this year's US Open, Alcaraz went all the way after beating Casper Ruud in the final. Alcaraz has become famous for his great work ethic and his extraordinary commitment to the game, so many believe the 19-year-old could one day approach the Grand Slam records set by the Big Three.
Tursunov on Carlos Alcaraz
Dmitry Tursunov believes that Carlos Alcaraz being the World No. 1 at the age of 19 helps Holger Rune in a way. "There's, of course, a lot of talent out there as well as technological improvement.
I think everything else sort of helps. It helps to develop players a little bit younger. Honestly, I have watched more women’s matches because of the job I have and so I don't really get to watch that much men's," Tursunov said.
"Obviously, Holger Rune is doing very well right now. I remember saw him just two years ago in Turkey and he was playing $15Ks there. He's had a very rapid improvement. I think that the fact that Alcaraz just being 19 years old, and being No 1 in the world, sort of helps him in a way. Because he sees that and says 'Hey, it's possible,'" he added.