Former player Ion Tiriac has said the sport needs Carlos Alcaraz to replace the ‘big three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Alcaraz has enjoyed a stellar 12 months, sealing two ATP 1000 titles and rising to No. 6 in the world at just 19 years of age.
After reaching the quarter-finals at the US Open and French Open, he is already being tipped as a future Grand Slam champion and a successor to Nadal.
Tiriac has thrown his support behind the Spaniard and backed him for success with Wimbledon right around the corner.
“A future No. 1,” he said, as reported by Eurosport Spain.
“And I hope he is also a great character because tennis is going to need a great character in the place of these three who are leaving.”
The sport has struggled to replace the likes of Nadal and Djokovic, who continue to dominate at Grand Slams despite playing into their mid-30s.
A generation of tennis stars have failed to challenge their supremacy, but Tiriac believes the likes of Alcaraz and Hoglar Rune can finally topple the outgoing elites.
“There are people like Alcaraz. Like Rune, who can be a great player but has a few problems, his mother, this and that, but he hits the ball very well,” he added.
“The new generation is coming for sure.”
Federer is currently tied with Djokovic on 20 Grand Slams, two behind Nadal, and is set to miss Wimbledon to complete a 12-month spell without appearing at a Slam.
And Tiriac believes that, at 40 years old, the Swiss legend can no longer compete with the best.
“At 40 years old, I had already retired, but I was playing eight hours a day with Guillermo Vilas. I started playing tournaments for fun and I reached 60th in the world in three months,” he said.
“With Vilas in doubles, we were No. 2 or 3 in the world, we were at the Masters.
“If you like tennis, fine, but being competitive at 40 years old… no, no.”