Jean-François Pérès and Colin Abgrall, edited by Gauthier Delomez / Photo credits: JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP 06h08, 09 June 2023The semifinals of the men's singles are held this Friday at Roland-Garros, tournament of which Europe 1 is the official radio. And one of the posters particularly makes lovers of the little yellow ball salivate: the one between the new star Carlos Alcaraz and the former world number 1 Novak Djokovic. A meeting that promises a great show at the Porte d'Auteuil.
"This is the game of the year." In the aisles of Roland-Garros, of which Europe 1 is the official radio, the excitement of the spectators is at its peak before the long-awaited clash between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic this Friday in the semifinals of the International of France. "Frankly, it's the final before time," adds one tennis fan. "It's the best match possible, we were all waiting for it in the semi-finals," agreed the other spectator.
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And at the microphone of Europe 1, everyone goes there with his little prognosis. "It's the new generation against the old, and Carlitos (the nickname of Alcaraz, editor's note) has all his chances," says an amateur of the little yellow ball, followed by this other tennis fan crossed Porte d'Auteuil: "Alcaraz is very strong this year, I would say a good 3 (sets) to 2 for him." "I think Djokovic will win the tournament, but Alcaraz is very, very dangerous. Normally, the favorite will be the winner of this match, "analyzes for his part this connoisseur.
"I like playing in these big stadiums," Alcaraz admits.
These different opinions show how undecided the meeting between the young Spaniard, new world number 1, and the Serb, seeded 3 and in search of a 23rd Grand Slam title, is. Even if at just 20 years old, Carlos Alcaraz impresses. Some in the aisles of Roland-Garros speak of extraterrestrial, with his lightning, irresistible game, which notably got the better of the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, yet finalist in 2021. Three weeks ago, everyone lamented the absence of Rafael Nadal but the new star has been there, with his teenage boil and his smile as big as the Philippe-Chatrier center court.
"I like to play in these stadiums, in these tournaments, in these cities," Alcaraz said. "Having fun is the most important thing for me, that's why I smile all the time." The Spanish phenomenon freaks out all the counters and delights the spectators. With him, every shot can be a winner, but he has never won at Roland Garros.
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Djokovic, "the champion of major events" according to Pioline
In front of him will stand the master of clocks and chess games, the Serbian Novak Djokovic, 36, former world number 1 and 22 Grand Slams to his credit. If he goes to the end of the tournament, he will overtake Rafael Nadal. This is a crucial data for the consultant of Europe 1 and former 5th world player, Cédric Pioline. "He's the champion of big events," he said. "He has in the background this distance race with Nadal now because Federer is offside. He knows that all year there will be no Nadal, it's recorded, so there is a highway ahead of him, "says the double finalist in Major.
Alcaraz-Djokovic, a duel at the top of tennis, the poster of the year, and perhaps the match of the year. This is what all Roland-Garros hopes for this Friday.