As Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz prepare to clash Friday in the semi-finals of the French Open, behind the scenes two former Grand Slam champions are readying their charges for the highly-anticipated showdown.

Djokovic, two wins away from a record 23rd men's major title, has 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic in his corner, while Alcaraz is coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero, who triumphed at Roland Garros 20 years ago.

Ivanisevic's crowning moment at Wimbledon came when he outlasted Pat Rafter in a thrilling five-setter as a wild card -- finally getting over the hump after three runner-up finishes in 1992, 1994 and 1998.

He worked with Marin Cilic for three years which coincided with the Croat's 2014 US Open coronation -- the only major final between the 2005 Australian Open and 2020 US Open without one of the "Big Four" of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray.

Djokovic added Ivanisevic to his coaching team in time for Wimbledon in 2019, the start of a fruitful partnership that began with his win over Federer in the longest final in tournament history.

Since then, Djokovic has added another six Grand Slam titles to his haul -- the most recent a record-extending 10th Australian Open crown, a year on from his deportation over his stance on Covid vaccines.

With Federer now retired and the convalescing Nadal saying 2024 will be his final season on tour, Ivanisevic believes Djokovic can play "definitely two, three more years".

"The way he's taking care of his body, the way he approaches everything, the food, it's amazing. It's unbelievable the level," Ivanisevic said after Djokovic beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne.

- Alcaraz too young to remember -

Ferrero knows best than most what it takes to win at Roland Garros, enjoying his greatest success here 20 years ago when he brushed Dutchman Martin Verkerk aside to lift the iconic Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Alcaraz was barely a month old when Ferrero won the French Open, a breakthrough which would help him briefly ascend to world number one later that year after reaching the US Open final.

Ferrero said Alcaraz watched clips of his 2003 victory during the pandemic. Two decades on from it, Alcaraz is putting together his own impressive highlight reel -- showing off his array of weapons in a crushing win over former runner-up Tsitsipas in the last eight.

"He dreams very big about what he can do, so I think it's one of the most important things that he believes in himself and that he believes that he can go to the court and win against everybody," said Ferrero.

"I think of course (having) won a Grand Slam already, 19 years old, now 20, it's gonna help him to believe that he can make it again," he added. "I think it's all help, not more pressure."

While Djokovic, 36, easily has the edge in experience, Alcaraz won their only previous meeting last year in Madrid -- winning the final set in a tie-break -- en route to capturing the trophy.

"I don't think there is an advantage. I think both players are maybe the best in the world right now," said Ferrero.

"Novak has the experience to play these kind of matches more than Carlos, of course, but at the same time Carlos really wants to play that match."

Ferrero thinks that Alcaraz is better equipped to go all the way than he was 12 months ago when he was knocked out in the quarter-finals.

"As a person, I would say he's more mature," he said.

"I would say he's better than last year. I think he has more experience.

"The experience that he's won the US Open and, living the experience on the court that he did, I think makes him grow faster than maybe other people, so definitely he's a better player."