Clay and hard courts take center stage this week on the ATP Tour, hosting Top 20 stars across three ATP 250 tournaments spread across two continents. Reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz heads the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag, while Dominic Thiem will be one of the big draws at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel.
In the United States, John Isner will chase his seventh title on the hard court of the Atlanta Open. FIVE THINGS TO SEE IN UMAG 1) Alcaraz is the current champion: Umag has great memories for Carlos Alcaraz, who lifted his first title in this ATP 250 last year.
The Spaniard, who was No. 73 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings when he won the trophy 12 months ago, will now top the field as the top seed, having contested the final in Hamburg against Lorenzo Musetti. At 19 years old, this Monday he will debut in the Top 5, and this year he debuted in the ATP Masters 1000 category with the titles in Miami and Madrid.
2) Sinner is chasing his first title in 2022: Jannik Sinner will be competing for the first time since he reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals in Umag. The 20-year-old Italian has reached the quarter-finals six times this season but has yet to add to his tally of five ATP Tour titles this season.
Sinner, who reached the second round in his tournament debut in 2019, will face either Jaume Munar or Mikael Ymer in his debut. 3) Baez Follows His Upline: Sebastian Baez is enjoying the best season of his career. The Argentine lifted his first trophy on the clay of Estoril, while in Bastad he reached the final earlier this month, where he lost to compatriot Francisco Cerúndolo in the final.
Carlos Alcaraz is a young star
Goran Ivanisevic, who is Djokovic’s current coach, spoke about Carlos Alcaraz during a recent interview with Nova TV and also highlighted the Big 3’s greatness. “I don’t need to waste any words on everything that Alcaraz has done this year,” said Ivanisevic.
“He is impressive, everyone predicts that he might be the best of all time, but it’s hard to predict because Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have done a lot,” he added. Speaking ahead of the start of the ATP Crotia Open in Umag, the Croatian former player also stated that Italy’s Jannik Sinner will join Alcaraz among the future greats of the sport.
“When I see the draw, we certainly have the future number one in the world, Alcaraz, as well as Sinner, who will be one of the leading tennis players in the world,” Ivanisevic said further.