Following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz, new world tennis star, “impresses everyone”

His name is on everyone’s lips. The Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz dazzles the world of tennis with his meteoric rise. Unknown to the general public two years ago, the Spaniard with dark hair, short hair and brown eyes is one of the outsiders of Roland-Garros for his second participation, and more after his title, on Sunday, May 8, in Madrid, the his second degree Master 1000. With 27 victories in his name this season from three defeats, including victories against giants Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the Murcian is now one of the contenders for victory in Paris.

Since his first main circuit tournament in 2020, he has been setting precocity records. In February he won his first ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro and became, at the age of 18, 10 months and the youngest tennis player to afford a tournament of this caliber. In March, he earned his first Masters 1000 in Miami. Again, he is the youngest player to win the title in Florida, and even writes his name in history by becoming the first Spaniard to lift the trophy. Five-time finalist, Rafael Nadal has never won.

Only two men have done better in the history of the Master: the American Michael Chang in Toronto in 1990 (18 years, 5 months and 7 days), and Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo in 2005 (18 years, 10 months and 14 days). ), he recalled the account in April Game, set and math on Twitter. Do you want more? At the last Australian Open, then out of the standings, Alcaraz became the youngest Spanish player to win a Grand Slam match since Christmas in 2003.

Still 318th in the ATP rankings on March 16, 2020, 114th place a year ago, is this Monday 6th in the world. Where will it stop? Alcaraz “He is a player who is progressing at a phenomenal pace, Patrick Mouratoglou, a consultant for France Televisions in “All Sport,” explained in mid-April. When a player burns scenarios like him, it’s usually a very good sign. He impresses everyone with the quality of his shot, his physical qualities and his ability to win. “

“He will probably become one of the best players in the world soon. I think he will skip the stages very quickly,” he said.defeated Rafael Nadal on May 5, 2021, in front of journalists, after his quick victory against Alcaraz in Madrid (6-1, 6-2) in the second round. Indeed, the young player jumped the ranks four by four: a year later, he was the one who beat his great in the quarterfinals of the Spanish tournament (6-2, 1-6, 6-3).

Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal pose before their match at the Masters 1000 in Madrid on May 5, 2021. (MAXPPP)

Obviously, we can’t help but compare the two Spaniards. They started the professional circuit at the age of 15 and at 18 they won their first tournament. It was also at this age that Alcaraz became the youngest player to enter the Top 10 in the world since … Rafael Nadal in 2005.

Beyond the numbers, the young prodigy shares with the Mallorcan his devastating right hand, his predispositions to the mud, his steel mind, as well as an attitude and humility welcomed by all. For many, this comparison would have been stifling and paralyzing. Carlos Alcaraz managed to turn it into an engine to win. “Thanks to ‘Rafa’ I learned the importance of playing with a lot of energy and giving everything from the first ball to the last. The challenge of trying to get where ‘Rafa’ went is also a great motivation for me, even though I know. It’s almost impossible. ” he relied on a press conference in April following his victory at the Masters 1000 in Miami.

However, Alcaraz also knows how to stand out from the shadow of the giant, according to Corriere della Sera (article in Italian). “I’m from Murcia, he’s from Mallorca. He’s left-handed, not me. I, when I was little, was anything but a warrior: small, thin and not very powerful. The opposite of Christmas …”

On the track, his style is more like Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. His tennis is effective on both clay and hard clay and more offensive than “Rafa”. Its range of shots, already very complete, combines powerful and flat shots with more delicate ones, going through a stimulating game on the net. “I like to be aggressive, add a lot of direct pointsour style is more or less like Federer’s “estimated in February 2020 on the ATP website.

Carlos Alcaraz scored in the Miami Masters 1000 final on April 3, 2022 against Norwegian Casper Ruud.  (MAXPPP)

Like the players in the historical “Big 3”, Carlos Alcaraz learns quickly, a sign of surprising maturity given his age. His defeat in November 2021 against Hugo Gaston in the round of 16 at the Paris-Bercy Masters, in front of an audience fully committed to the cause of the Habs, is one of the most shocking examples. Carlos Alcaraz, who led 5-0 in the second set, completely lost track of the game before losing 6-4, 7-5. “I experienced a real mental block. I was overwhelmed, I couldn’t play anymore.” said in February a The team (article for subscribers). “When I left, I cried, I had a feeling of helplessness. (…) After a day or two, it had cooled down a lot. to accumulate enough experience so that it does not happen again, at least not in the same way.

Is “By far, the game that served Carlos best in 2021, assured Juan Carlos Ferrero. The former world number one and winner of Roland-Garros in 2003, has been coaching Alcaraz since he was 15 years old.

“During the last NextGen Masters (which he won) in November 2021 in Milan, what Carlos wanted most in the world, even more than the title, was to be able to play again immediately against Hugo Gaston, and that says a lot “his personality”.

Juan Carlos Ferrero, coach of Carlos Alcaraz

in L’Equipe, in February 2022

His student doesn’t look like the fat head guy. “I’m doing great things, I’m winning titles. So inevitably, right now “People are talking about you, I’m trying to take it easy and keep going.” underlined in Monte-Carlo at the microphone of “Tout le sport”, what “The dream is to be world number one one day” i “win every Grand Slam tournament”. Modest, but ambitious.This year I can win a Grand Slam. And I’m not afraid to say that. “he told the Spanish sports newspaper in April Mark (article in English).

Carlos Alcaraz and his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, celebrate the victory of the young Spaniard in Barcelona, ​​April 24, 2022. (MAXPPP)

His early career also impressed the rest of the players on the circuit. “It’s amazing what he does. At his age, I don’t even know if he had an ATP point. With each game he shows a little more of his huge potential.” Italian Matteo Berrettini said after his victory in the fifth set tie against Alcaraz in the third round of the Australian Open. “It’s not the future of tennis, it’s the present.” Gaël Monfils, who was impressed after losing to him in the round of 16 in Indian Wells in March, said.

Even Tony Nadal is full of praise for him. “In case anyone has any doubts, there is no more: Spanish tennis not only has a promising horizon, it has Carlos Alcaraz. Not only is he the current player but probably the best placed to succeed the members of the ‘Big 3’. on the world stage “wrote in September 2021 in a column published in The country (content in Spanish for subscribers). In Spain, it is already the new favorite of the national press. When The Country (article for subscribers) Talk about “Rough diamond polish over time “, world sports writing: “Carlos Alcaraz, with his game and his personality on the court, is now at just 18 years old the new and irresistible magnet of the public, wherever he plays.”

Will Roland-Garros continue its momentum? He tops the list of suitors, along with Nadal, Djokovic and Tsitsipas. History is ready to make room for it. In June 2005, Rafael Nadal, just 19, won his first Roland-Garros title. It is easy to imagine that Alcaraz lives a comparable destination in Porte d’Auteuil.

Leave a Comment