Alcaraz and Sinner's ability same level as 'Big 4', believes Simon

By Sports Desk May 28, 2024

Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner have the ability of the 'Big 4' if they can keep up their consistency, former world number six Gilles Simon believes.

Alcaraz won his first grand slam title at the US Open in 2022, becoming the youngest world number one in the history of the ATP rankings at 19 years, four months, and six days, before winning his first Wimbledon title in 2023.

Alcaraz beat Daniil Medvedev to win Indian Wells in March but has since struggled with an arm injury, with his last match before Roland Garros coming in the quarter-final of the Madrid Open on May 1.

He beat J.J. Wolf in straight sets on Sunday to progress to the second round of the French Open, where he will face Jesper De Jong.

Simon, speaking at the Roland-Garros eSeries by Renault tournament, believes in the Spaniard's ability, comparing him to some of the big names in the sport.

He said: "I think that Alcaraz has the level of the big 3 or big 4 that we've had because he really has a level that's very high.

"In other words, when his tennis is up and running, it's really hard to beat him. And I see him at the same level as [Rafael] Nadal, Novak [Djokovic], [Roger] Federer, even at their best, because he's got that level.

"On the other hand, he can't keep it up at the moment, every week, with the consistency that those players have had. But he's young, he's still very young, and he's going to keep winning, keep progressing, keep raising his game.

"Maybe he'll reach the level of those players. Last year, we saw him do very well at Roland Garros but ultimately lose due to cramp. But then he wins at Wimbledon, and you think that's it, he's reached that level [of the big 3].

"Yes, he was there over that period, not over ten months for the moment. And I've no doubt he'll be there, but it's going to be complicated."

Meanwhile, Sinner has enjoyed a strong start to 2024 saw him win his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open, following up with wins in Rotterdam and Miami.

The Italian also cruised through his opening round at Roland Garros with a straight-sets win over Christopher Eubanks and is set to face Richard Gasquet next on Monday.

"As far as I'm concerned, [Sinner's] at a slightly lower level than Alcaraz. But his average level is higher than that of Alcaraz. So that's where it's interesting," Simon added.

"So far, Jannik has been able to show consistency for over six months, from the end of last season to his injuries at the start of the clay-court season.

"He's been in the final of almost every tournament for six months, or a winner. His consistency is reminiscent of that of the Big 4.

"But what's interesting is that he lost his big match at Indian Wells, against Alcaraz, who suddenly regained his level and overtook him. So that's how I see it."

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