Novak Djokovic is on course to claim his place as the greatest player of all-time, but Billie Jean King believes Carlos Alcaraz could be on course to usurp him as the tennis GOAT.
Alcaraz knocked Djokovic off the top of the ATP Rankings earlier this year, ending two decades of dominance from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Djokovic.
Yet Alcaraz still has a long way to go before he could be compared to the game’s ultimate champions, with his wins at the 2022 US Open and at Wimbledon last month starting his collection of Grand Slam titles.
At the age of 20, he is a player with unlimited potential, but he need to keep winning for a decade and more to match the remarkable achievements of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray.
So it may be surprising to hear tennis legend King suggesting Alcaraz will eventually claim the title of the greatest player of them all.
“The men have been totally spoiled with Federer and Nadal and Djokovic,” she said, in an engaging interview with Sky Sports.
“Djokovic is probably going to end up as the greatest (of those three) as I think he is going to keep winning Grand Slams.
“Then you have Alcaraz, who I adore. I first saw him when he was 18 and I said, I will say now, he is going to be the greatest ever, unless he gets hurt.
“He has brought the drop shot back and in the 1980s it used to drive me crazy that no one would use the drop shot. Bring them in… they are on the baseline.
“Every generation gets better. I hate it when old players say they could win now, but are you kidding, we wouldn’t get a point.
“My mother always said ‘keep moving or it’s over’ and she was right.”
King also suggested the women’s game is in a good place ahead of the US Open, even though some of the biggest names on the WTA Tour lack the problem of the male superstars of the modern era.
“You can’t win with the media,” added the icon who helped to change women’s tennis forever by promoting change that ended with male and female players getting equal prize money at Grand Slam events.
“When you have superstars, they say we don’t have rivalries and that is what we need.
“This happens in every generation. When there is a rivalry, they say the game has no depth, you only have these two players.
“Now they are saying we have no superstars, but the depth of the women’s game is the best ever.
“We don’t have that rivalry yet, but you have to let it percolate and give it time. It always shakes out.
“I have lived through six generations and it is always fascinating.”
King will be a vocal spectator at the US Open over the next two weeks, with Sky Sports broadcasting the event to the UK and Ireland as they mark their return to tennis.
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