The Masters 1000 series started in 1990 and has been dominated by three names. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have set many records in the last 15 seasons, taking 101 titles and ranking well above others. Novak claimed the 37th Masters 1000 title that he set records in Paris a few weeks ago.
He set another record in this series, becoming the first player with nine quarter-finals in seven different events! To accomplish this feat, a player must stay competitive in a single tournament for a decade or more, which is never easy if you are not one of the three mentioned stars.
Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras were the only players to achieve that in the 1990s and early 2000s, followed by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Federer won that in four different tournaments, Nadal raised the bar and counted to six, and Djokovic topped them all with nine quarter-finals in seven Masters 1000 tournaments!
Novak shared the record with Rafa before advancing to the knockout stages in Paris for the ninth time since 2009. Djokovic had to score a victory in the French capital to secure the 55th Masters 1000 quarter-finals, beating Marton Fucsovics before Gael Monfils retired ahead of their third-round clash.
In his first match since the US Open final, Djokovic beat Fucsovics 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the second round. He does not. 1 claimed 20 more points than his rival, starting from the beginning after losing the first set to take home victory in two hours.
The Serbian fired 24 winners and 23 unforced errors and dominated the Hungarian in the shorter rallies of up to four strokes. Novak lost serve twice and delivered four break of 11 chances to cross the finish line first and make a winning start.
Ferrero on Nadal and Alcaraz
In a recent interview with the ATP, former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero likened Carlos Alcaraz to famous Dragon Ball Z character Goku. Ferrero, who serves as Alcaraz’s coach, also opined that the Spaniard has done well to handle the pressure that comes with being compared to Rafael Nadal.
“Yes, one of the expectations we had was to be ranked around No. 50. In terms of that number, he has exceeded expectations,” Ferrero said. “We could also mention that he has played against top players and been able to compete on their level – and even beat them, as was the case with [Stefanos] Tsitsipas and [Matteo] Berrettini, even [Jannik] Sinner, who is another of the most promising young players,” added Alcaraz’s coach.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, on his part, believes comparisons with Rafael Nadal indicate that Carlos Alcaraz is on the right path. “So they compare him with Rafa? Great, that means that people think he has a lot of potential,” Ferrero said.
“But he has to be very clear, and other people do too, that he has to stay on his own path. I won’t say that Rafa’s career is unrepeatable, but almost. Carlos has to have his own career and keep looking forward.”