Former seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander thinks Carlos Alcaraz "could turn out to be the single most important player ever." Alcaraz, 19, is already a Grand Slam champion and the youngest No 1 in tennis history.
Although Alcaraz is already known as one of the biggest competitors in the game, he also often smiles on the court as it is clear that he is having joy and fun when on the court. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are considered the ultimate tennis icons but Wilander feels Alcaraz could potentially even have a bigger impact on the game than those two all-time greats.
Wilander explained his views during a conversation with Eurosport's Arnold Montgault.
Wilander: Alcaraz could be the single most important tennis player ever
"For me to see Alcaraz winning the US Open was the most probably most exciting tournament that I've seen in the 20+ years that I've worked in TV or in media as an analyst.
I have said that I think if Alcaraz can keep winning - and I've even told [Alcaraz's coach] Juan Carlos Ferrero this in private - he could turn out to be the single most important tennis player that we have ever had in our sport.
People are going to say, what do you mean? Isn't Roger Federer? Isn't Rafael Nadal? Yes, they are absolutely, incredibly important. But here you have a guy who is trying so hard, he is so fast, he is playing with so many different shots, and he's serving and volleying at 15-30.
He's 19 years old! He's hitting drop shots at 15-30, he's 19 years old! Then he dives, and at the end of it, he's smiling and he's laughing. So if I'm a parent, I'm going to look at Alcaraz, and I'm going to say, 'Whoa, whoa, that's the No.
1 player in the world? And he's having that much fun? You kids, you are all going to play this sport because that seems to be a life-changing situation,'" Wilander told Eurosport. Unfortunately, Alcaraz won't be competing at the upcoming Australian Open.
Late last week, Alcaraz revealed for the first time that he sustained a leg injury during the preseason. As a result, the opening Grand Slam of the season won't feature world No 1 Alcaraz.