Wimbledon 2022 preview: Alcaraz v Sinner

Young phenoms to clash in blockbuster fourth round at SW19

Carlos Alcaraz / Wimbledon 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

When the 'Big Three' decide to retire from professional tennis, 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz and 20-year-old Jannik Sinner are strong candidates for becoming the sport's future 'Big Two'.

The young duo will square off for just the second time at tour level when they meet on Sunday in an intriguing Wimbledon fourth round.

Here's a deep dive into this Next Gen match-up...


The first time Alcaraz and Sinner faced off as professionals was in a Challenger on clay in Alicante back in 2019. Alcaraz came through in three sets on home soil.

Their first meeting on the ATP tour came at the end of last season on indoor hard courts at the Rolex Paris Masters, where again Alcaraz had the upper hand, delivering a 7-6(1), 7-5 defeat of the Italian, who had just cracked the top 10 for the first time.

“First time on ATP tour we played, so hopefully we can play some many, many more, which I think is the case, because he plays very, very high level. I play high level. We are young. So I hope so,” said Sinner after his loss in Paris.

The Italian got his wish eight months later as he and Alcaraz prepare to clash for the first time on grass.

Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Rolex Paris Masters 2021© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

Different players, similar trajectory

Last year, Sinner really established himself among the tour’s best, winning four titles, reaching a Masters 1000 final, breaking into the top 10 and even playing two matches as an alternate at the ATP Finals in Turin.

After making the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros on his tournament debut in 2020, Sinner reached the second week twice at the Grand Slams in 2021, and started 2022 by making the last-eight stage at the Australian Open.

This season, Alcaraz, who is a year and a half younger than Sinner, is having the kind of breakthrough Sinner enjoyed in 2021; except it’s slightly more impressive.

The Murcian started 2022 ranked 31 in the world. By May, he had moved up to No.6.

Alcaraz has won four titles this campaign, including two Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid, where he defeated Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in consecutive matches en route to lifting his home title.

Jannik Sinner / 1er tour Wimbledon 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

He's 35-4 win-loss this season entering his fourth-round duel with Sinner on Sunday and is looking to reach his third Grand Slam quarter-final from his last four majors.

“I think we both are different players, but one thing we have in common is that we work very, very hard,” Sinner said of Alcaraz at the Rolex Paris Masters last season.

“I think from his side and from my side as well we both are humble and we have a great team. I think he's not focusing about what the press is saying, and I don't focus about that. We both are quite focused about what we have to do, trying to improve.

“I knew that he's going to be top already when I played him in 2019 on the clay in the Challenger Tour, because these kind of players you feel that they have something special, for sure. I think we don't talk anymore about the age, because how complete he is, this is incredible. Yeah, that's it.”

Experience on grass

Neither player has much experience on grass at tour level and they’re both admittedly still figuring out the surface.

Alcaraz entire history on grass as a professional amounts to five matches contested, two at Wimbledon last year, and three this week.

After battling past German big-hitter Jan-Lennard Struff in five sets in his opener, Alcaraz won his next two rounds in straights to become the youngest man to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon since Bernard Tomic made the quarter-finals at 18 in 2011.

The Spaniard was particularly ruthless in his third-round win over Oscar Otte on Friday, in which he dropped just six games, struck 37 winners and committed just eight unforced errors.

“I played unbelievable today,” said Alcaraz after the match.

“This was my best performance so far. So I'm really happy with the level, and I will try to keep this level into the next round.”

Sinner hasn’t played much on grass either. The 20-year-old has just seven tour-level main draw matches on the surface under his belt and had never won any until his opening round victory over Stan Wawrinka last Monday.

He will enter Sunday’s clash against Alcaraz feeling quite confident though following an impressive straight-sets dismissal of former semi-finalist John Isner.

Sinner is the youngest Italian man in the Open Era to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.

“For me, in the beginning of the week, it was important to win one match on grass, because I had never won one. So I’m very happy to be now in the last 16, it means a lot to me,” said Sinner on court on Friday.


The 10th-seeded Sinner has fired 15 aces through his opening three matches at these Championships.

He has won 79% of his first-serve points, has held serve in 51 out of 56 service games, has broken serve 13 times, fired 116 winners and 99 unforced errors.

He spent 8hr 4min in total on court and dropped two sets.

“We have a good relationship,” Sinner said of Alcaraz.

“Sometimes we talk in the locker room. He speaks in Spanish and I speak in Italian, so we talk kind of mixed. But I think we understand us very well. Off court we are friends, we are good friends. I mean, also now after his match and my match, we saw each other in the ice bath. I think we are in a good relationship which hopefully can live for many years because this is the most important.

“Yeah, on court everyone wants to win, so it's hopefully going to be an exciting match.”

The fifth-seeded Alcaraz has a 42 ace count so far this tournament. The Spanish teen has won 80% of his first-serve points and has broken serve 11 times.

He has held serve in 52 out of 55 service games, saving 12/15 break points faced through three matches. Alcaraz has hit a combined 149 winners so far against just 68 unforced errors.

He has spent 7hr 55min on court in total.

“He plays unbelievable. He has a great level here on grass. He has won really good matches here, so it's going to be a really tough round,” said Alcaraz of Sinner.

“But obviously I'm going to enjoy. So playing against Jannik is always tough. I like to play these kind of matches, these kind of challenge.”