Home » Great’s prediction for new ‘next level’ rivalry

Great’s prediction for new ‘next level’ rivalry

Australian tennis great John Fitzgerald believes Jannik Sinner may hold the long-term edge over Carlos Alcaraz despite losing to the Spanish sensation in the French Open semi-finals on Saturday.

Alcaraz prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 over the Italian in an enthralling contest that lasted more than four hours.

He will meet Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the final but it is the Alcaraz-Sinner rivalry that many feel will dominate world tennis for the remainder of the decade at least.

Watch Roland-Garros 2024 live and exclusively free on Nine and 9Now. Plus four courts in 4K UHD on Stan Sport, the home of grand slam tennis

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain shakes hands with Jannik Sinner of Italy after beating him. Getty

Alcaraz is 21 and Sinner is 22.

“These two young guns, I think we will see for a decade; they will play each other numerously,” Fitzgerald said on Stan Sport’s Grand Slam Daily.

“They are two players that are going to be etched into our memories for a long time to come. They are both young bulls. They’re going to take the game forward to the next level. And they’re both fantastic characters, which is even a bigger bonus.”

LIVE COVERAGE: Super Rugby Pacific Saturday quarter-finals

READ MORE: Rogers backs calls for NRL to adopt rugby red card

READ MORE: Ruthless 25 minute spell that killed Reds dreams

Alcaraz is now the youngest man to reach a grand glam title match on three surfaces.

He won championships at the US Open in 2022 on hard courts and at Wimbledon in 2023 on grass.

“I watch Alcaraz and he’s got so much flair, sometimes maybe he tries to use too much of it,” Fitzgerald said.

Carlos Alcaraz at the Roland Garros 2024. French Open Day One.

Carlos Alcaraz plays a backhand shot against Jeffrey John Wolf. DeFodi Images via Getty Images

“I would argue that over time, sometimes that can cost you a few matches. I saw it at the Australian Open. He was almost faultless.

“He played some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen but then he lost because he continued to play these shots that are a little bit low percentage. Sometimes it costs him.

“On the clay, though, he has more time to use that flair, to hit the drop shot more often and to use all of the court.

“Sinner, on the other hand, is more probably a bit more solid, doesn’t go for quite as much flair. That may well win him more majors in the long run. It remains to be seen.”

Sinner won his first grand slam title at the Australian Open this year.

This will be the first French Open men’s final without Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer since 2004.

Jannik Sinner celebrates. Getty

Djokovic was the defending champion in Paris, but he withdrew before the quarter-finals after tearing the meniscus in his right knee and had surgery this week.

Because he failed to get back to the final, he will drop from atop the ATP rankings, allowing Sinner to rise a spot from No.2, despite his defeat.

Djokovic is now racing the clock to be fit for Wimbledon on July 1.

“Only Novak knows what that knee feels like,” Fitzgerald said.

“I’ve had a torn meniscus before, it’s been shaven out. I know the technology’s better these days than it used to be.

“But three weeks is not a long time and this is not a perfect preparation. He was No.1 in the world though, until a couple of days ago, and there’s an argument to say he’s still the best grass-court player in the world. In fact, he is.

“So if he’s fully fit, he starts favourite for me. But if he’s not fully fit, anything can happen. And we won’t know until the tournament starts.”