- Rotterdam Open boss Richard Krajicek regrets ignoring Carlos Alcaraz in 2021
- He Andy Murray for a wildcard entry into the 2021 ABN AMRO Open
- Yet, Alcaraz surprised everyone this year finishing at world No.32 from outside the top 100 players
Rotterdam Open boss Richard Krajicek regrets ignoring Carlos Alcaraz in favour of Andy Murray for a wildcard entry into the 2021 ABN AMRO Open.
Krajicek, a 1996 Wimbledon champion says he never thought Alcaraz was such a stunning tennis player which is why he chose Murray for the wildcard.
The Rotterdam Open boss marks his 20th anniversary as tournament director and one thing on his mind is recalling this moment when he chose experience over youth.
Richard Krajicek Regrets Ignoring Carlos Alcaraz
In a recent interview with Langs de Lijn En Omstreken, Krajicek acknowledged the difficult choices tournament directors face, particularly when it comes to allocating wildcards.
He admitted that passing over Alcaraz, who was seeking a wildcard at just 17 years old, in favour of the seasoned Murray was a decision he now regrets.
Despite Murray’s illustrious career, which includes three Grand Slam titles and a former world No. 1 ranking, Krajicek said it would have been different if he had given Alcaraz a chance to play in the Rotterdam Open 2021 under a wildcard.
“Sometimes things go well, sometimes things go against you. In 2021, Alcaraz asked for a wildcard to play in Rotterdam. I preferred to give that to Andy Murray,” he remarked.
The Spaniard’s subsequent meteoric rise, culminating in his historic victory at the US Open and ascent to the top of the world rankings made Krajicek’s regret his decision a year later.
“You don’t want that to happen again, to say ‘no’ to tomorrow’s number one,” he stated.
Why Did Deny Carlos Alcaraz a Wildcard at 2021 Rotterdam Open
At the time, Krajicek’s choice made sense because Murray was a greater attraction than Alcaraz, who was still outside the top 100 in the ATP Rankings.
Krajicek based his decision on the fact that Murray is a three-time Grand Slam winner and former world No. 1.
But, the Dutchman candidly said that he regrets turning down a potential world No. 1 because the 2021 season ended up being Alcaraz’s breakout year. He won his first championship at the Croatia Open and finished the year at No. 32 despite starting outside the top 100 tennis players.
He upped his game in 2022 becoming the youngest-ever world No. 1 and winning his first Grand Slam at the US Open. Alcaraz has not played in Rotterdam’s hard courts yet since this incident.
Alcaraz chose to play in Brazil and Argentina after the Australian Open 2024 swing, perhaps because he was denied a chance in Rotterdam when he needed it most.
Will Carlos Play at Rotterdam Open?
Alcaraz’s trajectory since being overlooked for Rotterdam has been nothing short of remarkable, cementing his status as one of tennis’s brightest stars.
While the young phenom opted to compete in South America following the snub, Krajicek remains determined not to repeat the same mistake.
In a bid to nurture emerging talents, Krajicek has awarded wildcards to promising players like 18-year-old Dino Prizmic. Prizmic impressed at the Australian Open by taking a set-off world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Krajicek is focused on ensuring that promising talents receive the recognition they deserve.
Although defending champion Daniil Medvedev will be absent from this year’s tournament due to recovery from an exhausting Australian Open campaign, the stage is set for another thrilling edition of the Rotterdam Open.
Krajicek is striving to strike the right balance between honouring tennis legends and nurturing the next generation of stars.
He admits that he has learnt this lesson from the opportunity he denied Alcaraz when he needed it. The Rotterdam Open boss now feels obligated to nurture upcoming tennis players.