MURCIA tennis star Carlos Alcaraz has avoided rivals Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner in the draw for the Australian Open- the first tennis Grand Slam of the season that starts in Melbourne on Sunday.
Alcaraz, 20, from El Palmar was already down as second seed based on the ATP World rankings, which means that he would only meet the world’s best player Djokovic in the final.
Italian star Jannik Sinner is another player fancied to do well and posed problems to Alcaraz last season, but he’s in the Djokovic half of the draw.
The first round has seen the young Murcian paired with the veteran French player Richard Gasquet.
The 37-year-old is ranked 76 in the world standings with the only meeting between the two resulting in an Alcaraz win in 2021.
The road to the Melbourne final though is still tricky for the Spaniard, as he faces a potential second round battle with Britain’s Dan Evans if he sees off Lorenzo Sonego in the first round.
If the seedings go to plan, America’s Tommy Paul awaits in the last 16, before a quarter-final clash in-form Alexander Zverev, and then an encounter with Danill Medvedev who defeated Alcaraz in September’s US Open semis- a title that Alcaraz was defending.
The Alcaraz-Gasquet clash is scheduled to be played at 1.00am on Sunday.
Alcaraz’s warm up to the tournament included an exhibition match on Wednesday against Australian hopeful Alex de Minaur, 24.
The Aussie born to a Spanish mother lived on the Costa Blanca as a boy and started playing tennis aged 5 with Adolfo Gutierrez who has been his coach for the last 15 years.
Carlos Alcaraz had a training session on Thursday with playing partner Stan Wawrinka, himself a three-time Grand Slam winner.