Some identify him as the “heir to Rafael Nadal”, for his powerful and fearless tennis, his speed to move on the court and his competitive mentality. His trainer Juan Carlos Ferrero placeholder image, assures, however, that his game is more similar to that of Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer, “aggressive from the back of the court and lethal at the net to finish the point.” But beyond comparisons, Carlos Alcaraz placeholder image He continues to make his own path and confirms himself, every time he goes out on the court, as one of the great promises of the world of tennis.
With his victory by 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 6-1 and 6-4 against the French Arthur Rinderknech (83 °), the 18-year-old from Murcia entered the third round of the US Open and became the youngest player to reach that stage in the tournament from the premises Donald Young in 2007.
And also, in the youngest to reach her in two Grand Slam in the same season -won two games also at Roland Garros- since 2005. Who had done it on that occasion? None other than Djokovic, one of the greatest players of all time, at Wimbledon and at Flushing Meadows.
Romper earliness records It is not something new for Alcaraz. What’s more, by defeating the British in the debut in New York Cameron Norrie, became one of the youngest tennis players in history to win at least one game in each of the four “big” and was positioned in that statistic ahead of the members of the Big 3.
Nadal He did it with 18 years, 11 months and 20 days after overcoming the debuts of Wimbledon and the US Open 2003, Australia 2004 and Roland Garros 2005. Djokovic He did it with 19 years, 7 months and 24 days, winning in Paris, London and New York in 2005 and in Melbourne in 2007. And Federer, with 19 years, 10 months and 17 days with celebrations in the Oceanic, French and American Grand Slam of 2000 and the British of 2001.
Alcaraz debuted in the main draw of a Major this year in Australia, with a win over the Dutchman Botic Van de Zandschulp, and fell in his second match in Melbourne against the Swede Mikel Ymer.
At Roland Garros he beat his compatriot in the first round Bernabé Zapata, then Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili and said goodbye with the German Jan-Lennard Struff. He was the youngest to reach the third round in the tournament since Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine in 1992.
At Wimbledon -the first one he entered without having to pass qualifying before- he debuted with a celebration against the Japanese Yasutaka Uchiyama and was eliminated by the Russian Daniil Medvedev in the next instance. And in Flushing Meadows He completed this “poker” of victories in the four Grand Slams with 18 years, 3 months and 25 days.
The Murcian, likewise, downplayed those statistics that position him today on a par with three living tennis legends. “That just means I’m doing things right,” he said in a press talk in New York. And he added: “I am very happy for the maturity that I am showing on the track. I am taking small steps, but always forward, and I feel that rivals respect me more“.
Born in El Palmar on May 5, 2003, Alcaraz began to attract attention from a very young age. He got his first ATP points at age 14 -at a younger age than Nadal did-; At 15 he became the youngest to achieve a triumph in a challenger, by defeating Jannik Sinner in his debut in Alicante; and last year, at 16, he beat Albert Ramos Viñolas in Rio and won his first victory on the most important circuit in professional tennis.
This season he started with everything, because he surpassed the Australian qualification and gave himself the pleasure of being the first player born in 2003 to qualify for the main draw of a Grand Slam. His experience in Melbourne was a big boost.
In May, after beating Facundo Bagnis in the Oeiras Challenger final, he entered the top 100 for the first time. At the end of July, won his first title with a win against the French Richard Gasquet in the decisive match of the ATP 250 of Umag. And at the beginning of August reached its best position in the ranking, the 54th step.
Alcaraz won his first title at Umag in July. Photo EFE / Anja Ribaric.
Alcaraz does not stop growing, but keeps his feet on the ground. And it has a lot to do with it the mosquito Ferrero, with whom he has worked since he was 15 years old.
“From the first moment I realized its potential. I saw from the beginning that everything could go very fast. I was right, and perhaps that is why now I’m not super surprised with what is happening, “said the former number one a few weeks ago in a talk with the ATP.
“He is still very young, he still needs to improve a lot of things. Growing up will give him much more experience on the court to handle situations. He is improving very fast and everything is going too fast sometimes, but he’s handling it really well. We have goals, but we have to keep a cool head and let things happen. If they are achieved, very happy about it. If not, we will continue working, “he added.
Alcaraz – who in the third round will play with the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, third seed – agreed with his coach. “I try not to think about the comparisons with Nadal. I always say the same thing: I’m focused on my path. I’m still learning, I’m still growing,” he said after his victory at Umag.
Only time will tell if the promise ends up becoming reality. For now, the Murcian continues to add experience, breaking records and feeding the illusion of Spanish tennis, which already dreams of him. bright future of your new star.