There are reliefs and there are RELIEVES. For players who have this heavy responsibility, it is never easy. They are expected. They are associated with the next generation, although very often they have not yet proven anything, everything being based on their potential and the hopes they arouse, in relation to their talent and their only results in the young categories. Then there are the players passing the baton. These are happy to know that what they have done will not be without consequences.
In the case of Carlos Alcaraz, it is not “simply” about the next generation of Spanish tennis, but indeed the next generation of the “Big 3”.
A big sigh of relief.
If you talk to the “specialists” in tennis, everyone will tell you, or would have told you, that they were very worried about tennis. The (soon) retirements of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic would undoubtedly put a monumental pie in the popularity of tennis around the world, as the ATP’s marketing strategy relied entirely on these three players.
From now on, with the arrival of the “neo” (ref Matrix for those who don’t have it) of tennis, everyone can breathe a big sigh of relief.
I exaggerate, you will tell me. He is not the only one. There is Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Certainly. But that’s on the court. On the other hand, on the other side of the fence, in the civil (as they say), those can circulate without creating a riot.
This is not the case with Carlos Alcaraz. I witnessed an incredible scene, which I had seen very few times before, and which, each time, took place with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. When one of these three had to make a micro crossing of the stadium, from a court to the locker rooms, he was supervised by at least 10 security guards, responsible for surrounding him to prevent him from being caught by the fans who move with them, hoping for a selfie, an autograph, a smile.
He could move through the aisles without generating panic around him.
Last Saturday, young Carlitos was training on court 4 at Roland-Garros. In the process, he returned to the locker room. To make this journey, he had to travel a hundred meters along the Philippe-Chatrier court. During this trip, he was “protected” by about fifteen strong men. And fortunately they were there, because around them moved a mass of admirers all desiring a small piece of Alcaraz. The scene was quite surreal. It should be noted that in terms of security, there was nothing to say. The close protection of the young prodigy could not be better assured. But he was still very surprised to see the enthusiasm he aroused.
That’s one more thing that the others don’t have. Not sure, moreover, that it bothers them much. Admittedly, the feeling is flattering, but the reality is quite different. Not being able to move without a rugby team around you quickly becomes restrictive. This is all new for Alcaraz. Six weeks ago, in Monte-Carlo, he could move through the aisles without generating panic around him.
For the record, the same day – but a few hours later -, in the same place, Rafael Nadal also had to cross the area between Chatrier and Place des Mousquetaires to return to the locker room. And we found ourselves again in Beatlemania mode.
Everyone can therefore relax, the succession of the Big 3 is assured, at least in the aisles of Roland-Garros.