There are times when remembering how old Carlos Alcaraz truly is can be difficult. He is still only 20 years old, but he has already won two Grand Slams and reached No. 1 on the ATP tour for a short time as well. It seems as if Alcaraz has been one of the most important figures on the ATP tour for years. But as recently as 2021, he was not.
I point that out to be fair to Richard Krajicek. The 1996 Wimbledon winner has been the tournament director at the ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam, Denmark for 20 years. Over those years, he has likely been asked by players to receive a wildcard to enter the event hundreds of times. Krajicek has to make a decision to give the wildcard or not.
In 2021, Krajicek had to make a decision whether to give Andy Murray, a former No. 1 player and three-time Grand Slam winner, or lower-ranked Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz had not yet broken into the top 50 at the time of the Rotterdam Open so the decision to give Murray the wildcard over the Spaniard was easy. But Krajicek still regrets not letting Alcaraz enter the tournament.
Carlos Alcaraz snubbed but for a good reason
Speaking with Langs de Lijn En Omstreken, Krajicek said, "Sometimes things go well, sometimes things go against you. In 2021, Alcaraz asked for a wildcard to play in Rotterdam. I preferred to give that to Andy Murray. You don’t want that to happen again, to say ‘no’ to tomorrow’s number one."
That is a fair admission, but Krajicek could not have known then that the person he said "no" to would have turned out to be the player that Alcaraz has. This is why I used the word "ignorant" in the title of this article. The definition of the word is "lacking knowledge or awareness in general."
Had Krajicek said "yes" to Alcaraz and "no" to Murray, there would probably have been a lot of fans who simply chose to stay home instead of coming to the tournament and bought concessions and souvenirs and other bits of merchandise that brought money to the event. Now, if the same situation existed for some reason, Carlos Alcaraz would be the clear choice. Krajicek simply should not beat himself up too much over a decision almost all of us would have made.