How many slams can Alcaraz win and rating Serena’s performance – Match Points #42 podcast edition

In the latest episode of Match Points, our panel discuss the US Open, from Serena Williams’ farewell to Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek, the new champions.

September 17, 2022

In the latest episode of Match Points, Marion Bartoli, Carole Bouchard and Ben Rothenberg discuss the burning issues on the Tour, in the wake of the US Open, where Serena Williams bowed out of tennis (perhaps) and where Carlos Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam title, to become, at 19, the youngest men’s world No 1 in history.

Host Josh Cohen, admitting that just posing the question in itself is an overreaction, asked if Alcaraz can go on to win 20 or more Grand Slams?

Marion Bartoli says it is impossible. “I think there is absolutely zero chance that someone ever, not only Carlos Alcaraz but anyone, will reach 20 or more,” she said. “I think what those three guys achieved is completely out of normality.”

However, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the coach of Alcaraz, says his charge is at just 60 percent of his potential. “I think it’s also a nice mind-game with the others,” Bouchard says. “Juan Carlos is always a discreet guy but he knows how to play the game.

ALCARAZ-SINNER; THE NEW BIG RIVALRY?

The match between Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, in which the Italian had match point, was perhaps the stand-out battle of the US Open. Could their rivalry, Cohen asks, become something big on the ATP Tour?

“I hope so, I think that match was incredible. The quality of some of those rallies was incredible. Sinner could very well have won it and won the US Open. I think this is the most exciting rivalry we have in that Alcaraz generation.”

Alcaraz / Sinner, US Open 2022
Alcaraz / Sinner, US Open 2022 ; © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

RATING SERENA’S FAREWELL US OPEN

Cohen asks the panel if they agree with Maria Sharapova’s claim that Serena is better than everyone in the field?

“She was great,” Rothenberg says. “She definitely exceeded my expectations. On paper, to be 40 years old and beat the No 2 seed at a Grand Slam that can’r be denied. It wasn’t obviously a title, but I thought it was a dream first week for her, getting the crowd to show her their love.”

Bouchard says Serena is still better than most of the field, with the exception of the champion, Iga Swiatek. Bartoli agrees. “I think Maria meant that when the era of 2010, when she and Serena were playing, they were so much better than this era.”

HOW DO YOU JUDGE IGA SWIATEK’S TITLE-WINNING PERFORMANCE?

Rothenberg says Swiatek won without playing her best. “She’s this much better than the field,” he says. “Maybe for the first time since peak Serena. She didn’t have an easy draw. I think she absolutely has a chance to be the greatest in her generation. She’s lethal in her finals.”

HOW WOULD THE PANEL SUM UP SERENA’S EFFORT?

Rothenberg says it was “kind of perfect”, thanks to the amazing reception she had on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Bartoli describes it as “beyond remarkable”. “Just the overall emotion was incredible.”

But will she ever play in a major again – she has dropped a few hints since that she might not yet be done.

The panel says…….you’ll have to listen and watch to find out!

We recorded this podcast before Roger Federer announced his retirement. That’s why we’re sharing it to you a week after the end of the US Open.

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