Robbie Koenig on Carlos Alcaraz taking over from Big 4: “His mental toughness and clutch factor is right up there”

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Tennis commentator Robbie Koenig is in awe of Carlos Alcaraz for the kind of variety in his game style and his mental toughness, particularly when it comes to the deciding-set tiebreaks.

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Speaking on an episode of the Control the Controllables podcast, former South African player Koenig expressed his satisfaction at the emergence of a new crop of players, especially Alcaraz. “It’s been fascinating to see the emergence of the young guys and the amount of talent that’s out there. We always worry about who’s going to takeover the mantle from the Big 4. But I like what I’m seeing,” he said.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Koenig revealed that he was disappointed that Novak Djokovic wasn’t allowed to participate in certain tournaments in 2022. The ace commentator wanted to see the Serb go one-on-one against Alcaraz since both were exceptional on hardcourts. “Going back to the start of the year, I think Novak should’ve been allowed to play. Similarly for the US Open, I wish he would have been able to play there. I couldn’t imagine anything better than Alcaraz taking on Novak, two guys who are just the most exquisite of movers. I just want to see the best players being able to compete. That’s what the fans live for — those big heavyweight matchups.”

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Alcaraz started the year as the 32nd-ranked player and won five titles, including the US Open, to reach the top spot. Stating the World No. 1’s deciding-set tiebreak stats, Koenig praised the Spaniard for his fearless brand of tennis, mental toughness and clutch factor. “Obviously now with Alcaraz getting to No. 1, the variety that he showed at such a young age is what has struck us all. He’s got so many tools at is disposal but for me, it’s the mental toughness that this guy has. I often use his stats in deciding-set tiebreaks. I think he’s 11-1 in his career. His clutch factor is right up there, man. Fearless tennis and the ability to produce is exciting all of us. There’s a lot to look forward to,” he added.

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Former Australian player Todd Woodbridge believes that although Carlos Alcaraz possesses the qualities of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, the youngster is still maturing as an athlete.

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The 51-year-old reckoned that Jannik Sinner could go all the way at the 2023 Australian Open. “Carlos Alcaraz has the best of the Big Three’s style. He has the volley of Federer, the tenacity of Nadal, and the court movement of Djokovic. You put that together and it’s an awesome package,” Woodbridge said. “But I want to see how he copes with being the No. 1 and having won the last Grand Slam. He is still maturing, as an athlete and a man. I have this feeling that it will be Sinner who has the outside chance of winning here if Novak or Nadal doesn’t make it. I think he is ready for the next level,” he added.

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