It’s been nearly twenty years in view that an American male tennis participant has received a Grand Slam title— Andy Roddick, who has already been retired for a decade, become the closing do it, on the 2003 US Open. But that drought would possibly quickly come to an cease.
And Friday on the French Open, the destiny of the game may be on display.
That’s when Carlos Alcaraz will face American Sebastian Korda (2:forty five p.m. ET) inside the 1/3 spherical at Roland Garros. They are 19 and 21 years antique, respectively.
In just about each way, Alcaraz is already a superstar and apparently on his way to be at least a generational if not all-time skills. The Spaniard with the lightning rapid feet, thunderous ground strokes and equally electric and magnetic persona has won four titles this yr. That consists of in advance this month in Madrid, wherein the day after his nineteenth birthday he beat the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, within the quarterfinals. For an encore, he beat international No. 1 Novak Djokovic the next day in a 3-and-a-1/2 hour thriller to come to be the primary player to defeat the 2 legends returned-to-back on the dirt. He additionally won the Miami Open in April — beating world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in immediately units alongside the way — to end up that match’s youngest champion.
“He were given all the components: the ardour, humbleness, skills and the physical,” Nadal stated of Alcaraz in March. “Reminds me a number of what I was with his age.”Carlos Alcaraz is stated by way of fellow countryman Rafael Nadal as one in every of tennis’ elite players.AFP thru Getty Images
That’s lofty organization. It’s additionally not simply hyperbole approximately his countryman, who last fall reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, is 28-three this yr and has rocketed to No. 6 inside the world.
“He [Alcaraz] isn’t a regular guy, like Novak become no longer a everyday man, like Roger [Federer] turned into no longer a regular man, probably me became now not a regular man or Alex [Zverev] or those forms of men which have the extent at a totally young age so they make the transition to the very maximum degree very short,” Nadal stated this month. “That’s what he did and he’s already there, like one of the large favorites to achieve each unmarried tournament that he’s gambling.”
Over the last twenty years there have been a variety of “nexts” in US men’s tennis who’ve come and gone, or, more as it should be, never clearly were, with John Isner (in 2017) and Sam Querrey (2018) the best Americans to attain the semifinals of a primary for the reason that Roddick reached the final 4 at Wimbledon in 2009. The reasons for the lack of pinnacle-shelf US talent within the men’s game are myriad and complex, tracing again to the junior stage. Of path, The Big Three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have also ruled the game at some point of that point.
Korda, although, is aware of some thing about what it takes to be one of the excellent players in the global. His father, Petr, won 10 profession titles, which includes the 1998 Australian Open, and climbed as excessive as No. 2 inside the world. Sebi’s older sisters, Jess and Nelly, have won six and 7 golfing tournaments, respectively, at the LPGA Tour, with Nelly counting a main among her victories as well as an Olympic gold medal and accomplishing No. 1 within the world additionally amongst her achievements.
But golfing changed into too uninteresting for Sebi, so he played hockey as a younger boy. That is till at age 9 when he back to the family’s South Florida home following a trip with his father to the 2009 US Open, where they watched Radek Stepanek take on Djokovic, and instructed his mother and father that he didn’t need to play hockey anymore and instead wanted to play tennis.Sebastian Korda selected tennis over hockey after seeing Radek Stepanek disappointed Novak Djokovic.Sipa USA
At 6-foot-five and with clean electricity, a refined all-around sport and properly quickness, Korda is in lots of approaches the epitome of the contemporary player. Though he’s more apt to looking to quit a point early instead of slugging it out from the baseline, his fairly compact swing, crisp strokes and regular demeanor bode properly for a massive future.
The outcomes are beginning to fashion that route, too. In Korda’s final seven majors, he has reached at least the third round on four occasions.Keep up with the maximum vital sports activities news
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“He’s were given the game, the notion, the composure—he’s got it all, virtually,” John McEnroe stated after Korda’s Wimbledon debut closing July. Korda went directly to attain the fourth spherical. “Things can simplest get better.”
McEnroe, the voice of US tennis, isn’t the only one singing Korda’s praises.
“[His sport has a] proper bodily appearance, properly serve, correct photographs from the baseline,” Nadal said on the Citi Open remaining August in Washington, DC. “I assume he’s a outstanding guy, [a] whole player. He has a lot of factors to do within the subsequent years in our sport.”
Korda has on account that climbed to No. 30 inside the global and ultimate month beat Alcaraz inside the 0.33 round in Monte Carlo, avenging a loss to him remaining 12 months. In the three-hour, 3-set, -tiebreak epic, he rallied from a destroy down within the final set in windy situations to shut out Alcaraz, 6-3.
Now comes Round three of what ought to be many among the two younger stars.
With the forty-yr-vintage Federer’s career nearing an give up by means of his personal admission and Nadal’s 35-year-vintage battered body simplest capable of live stitched collectively for so long, with a view to soon go away just 35-12 months-old Djokovic among the Big Three. It also leaves the door open for Alcaraz and Korda in what has the makings of what should be a longstanding rivalry for years yet to come.
And when it comes to finishing the Americans’ drought in majors, that’s as top a place as any to start.