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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday March 21, 2024

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz have become tennis’ new heavyweight fighters, says Andy Roddick.

Betway’s global ambassador of tennis says that the pair’s latest battle, a semifinal tilt at the BNP Paribas Open last week was more proof that the pair have taken the sport by storm.

Tennis Express

“The Alcaraz v Jannik Sinner rivalry is starting to feel like a heavyweight fight with the energy around it. The crowd was half-full 30 minutes before the match, which is telling you that people out there want to see it,” said the former World No.1, who is the last American man to win a major singles titles (2003 US Open).

The eighth installment of the rivalry went to Alcaraz (they have a 4-4 lifetime head-to-head), and Roddick says that two-time champion Alcaraz needed the win more than his Italian counterpart.

“It’s a testament to how good Carlos Alcaraz is that we now view him through a different lens and judge him against the large shadow that he’s created by winning a couple of majors,” he said. “That being said, he needed this result. He hadn’t made a final since Cincinnati in August last year and had said in the press that he didn’t feel great during his last couple of times out on court in Buenos Aires and Rio.”

Alcaraz talked a lot about his struggles at Indian Wells, telling reporters that he was not quite where he wanted to be confidence-wise, and admitting that scrolling through social medial and reading negative takes on his performance had bothered him.

“I think for me, it's a little bit difficult to be myself, let's say, the last few months or the past few tournaments,” Alcaraz told reporters. “I was trying to enjoy, let's say, every match, every point, but it was difficult for me to stay there in high intensity, high level of pressure.

“It was difficult for me to deal with it, but I am trying to stay away for everything and trying to enjoy the court. I think that's the most important thing for me. As I said many times, I'm a guy that sees a lot of the phone, and I see a lot of comments that the people give to you. Most of them are really good ones, but a few of them are the bad ones. It's difficult to deal with it, but that's what I'm trying to do, to stay away from everything, be myself and enjoy every time that I step on the court.”

By the end of the week negativity seemed to be a thing of the past for the two-time major champion. By ending Sinner’s 19-match winning streak he ensured a stay at No.2 in the rankings, and on Sunday he took out Daniil Medvedev for his 13th career title, and fifth at the Masters 1000 level.

Indian Wells could become a home away from home for the talented Alcaraz.

“The surface at Indian Wells does Carlos the favors of any of the top players, so, searching for confidence, it was a great time for him to arrive at this venue and defend his title,” said Roddick. “It was nice to see him in full flight and this will give him a huge confidence boost going into the rest of the year. A confident, engaged Alcaraz is good for tennis.”