Spanish starlet Carlos Alcaraz begins his 2022 French Open campaign against world No.141 Juan Ignacio Londero on Sunday at 4:05pm (UK time).
The 19-year-old arrives at Roland-Garros at No.6 in the world rankings after a phenomenal rise. Alcaraz has won 28 of his 31 matches so far in 2022 — a run that saw him reach the third round of the Australian Open. That follows on from a bunch of ATP titles won over the last 18 months, with the New York Times even describing him as ‘one of the most exciting next-generation talents in sports’. For Alcaraz to get to the very latter stages of the French Open would be asking a lot, but this kid has serious talent and already has a pretty decent record on clay. His time is fast approaching.
Alcaraz’s opponent, Londero, was once ranked in the world’s top 50 and made the last-16 of this tournament as recently as 2019. However, the Argentine has suffered a harsh downturn in form this season and, as a result, has plummeted down the rankings. But after spending much of the year on the ATP Challenger circuit, Londero did make the semi-finals of the Cordoba Open — a tournament he won in 2019 — so perhaps a revival is on the cards.
Londero has the experience, but Alcaraz has the talent and momentum — the latter such an important intangible across sports.