Tennis is not completely done with the Big 3, of course. Novak Djokovic is still playing well enough to win three Grand Slams in 2023 along with the ATP Finals title. Rafael Nadal is hoping for a successful return in early 2024. Roger Federer has been gone since 2022, of course. But six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker thinks there might be another group of four long-term tennis giants forming and Carlos Alcaraz is a big part of that.
Becker returned to tennis in 2023 after having to spend eight months in an English prison for hiding £2.5m of assets and loans. He is now the coach of 20-year-old Holger Rune and Rune is the No. 8 player on the ATP tour. But before Becker came on board, Rune had lost 10 of 11 matches. Since Becker, Rune has made the quarterfinals in one tournament and the semis in another. Boris Becker knows tennis well and he should be listened to when he speaks of the sport.
So when Becker names four younger players and says tennis fans will “hear a lot” from the gang of four in 2024, we should listen. Eventually one or two of these players is going to surpass an aging Novak Djokovic on their way to becoming the kings of tennis. Becker specifically named Carlos Alcaraz, Rune, Jannik Sinner, and Ben Shelton as threats to the throne of Djokovic sooner than later on Eurosport’s tennis podcast, Das Gelbe vom Ball.
Boris Becker lists Carlos Alcaraz among three others as potential new giants of tennis
About Sinner, Becker said the 22-year-old Italian is an “incredibly likable athlete.” Sinner is truly an ascending player after leading Italy to a Davis Cup championship and beating Novak Djokovic along the way. Sinner defeated Djokovic twice in two weeks, no small feat. Plus, to help grow tennis the sport not only needs players who stand out in terms of success but are also relatable off the court and Jannik Sinner certainly has the personality for that.
Carlos Alcaraz, of course, actually rose to No. 1 in 2023 and defeated Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, though, unlike Sinner, Alcaraz appeared to diminish as the year wore on. Still, he is extremely capable of getting back to No. 1 and staying there for some time. Unless, of course, Sinner catches him.
Perhaps the most surprising pick by Becker was American Ben Shelton. Shelton has a bombastic serve and moved up to No. 17 in his first full year on the ATP tour. He needs to learn to have better touch, but he is only 21 years old so he definitely has a lot of time to do so.