Carlos Alcaraz, Teenage Trailbazer With Eye On ’30 Slams’ | Tennis News


Carlos Alcaraz’s beautiful triumph on the US Open marked one other record-setting episode in a narrative predicted to finish with “30 Grand Slam titles”. The 19-year-old’s 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 victory over Casper Ruud in New York on Sunday noticed him turn out to be the youngest winner of a males’s main since Rafael Nadal on the 2005 French Open. He is now the youngest man to ascend to the world primary rating and the youngest champion in New York since Pete Sampras in 1990.

The modest, muscular star from the small Murcian city of El Palmar in Spain’s south-east isn’t any stranger to breaking data, by no means extra so than in 2022.

Five of his six profession titles have come this yr whereas Sunday’s triumph noticed his on-court earnings already nudge near USD 10 million.

When he broke into the world high 5 in July, he was the youngest man to take action since 2005.

Alcaraz then hit the giant-killing jackpot at Madrid in May when he turned the one man to defeat each Nadal and Novak Djokovic on the similar clay-court occasion.

For good measure, he achieved it on back-to-back days on his strategy to the title.

“Carlos’ intensity and speed is something you rarely see,” stated Rafael’s uncle and former longtime coach Toni Nadal.

– ‘Never offers up’ –

“His game follows the same path as Rafa; he never gives up until the last ball and has that characteristic intensity.”

Nadal was additionally 19 when he gained the primary of his report 22 Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros in 2005.

However, the 36-year-old has pleaded with followers to not put stress on {the teenager} by making daring comparisons.

“I forgot what I was like at 19,” stated Nadal. “The only thing we can do is enjoy the career of an extraordinary player like Carlos.

“If he manages to win 25 Grand Slams, it is going to be improbable for him and for our nation. But let him take pleasure in his profession.”

Despite Nadal’s reluctance, making comparisons is unavoidable.

Nadal won the first of his 92 titles at Sopot at the age of 18 in 2004.

Alcaraz, who learned the game at a tennis school run by his father, was also 18 when he captured his maiden ATP trophy at Umag in 2021.

Both men are fiercely protective of their private lives, enjoy passionate crowd support and build their games on steely defence and thrilling, flamboyant attack.

Nadal famously fought out a five-hour and 53-minute Australian Open final in 2012 only to lose to Djokovic.

Four years earlier, he won his first Wimbledon crown in a four-hour 48-minute epic against Roger Federer in a match widely hailed as the greatest Slam final of all time.

Fast forward to the 2022 US Open and Alcaraz needed to negotiate three five-setters and more than 13 hours just to get to Sunday’s final.

For good measure, he saved a match point in his five-hour 15-minute quarter-final with Jannik Sinner.

– ‘Competitive kid’ –

“I do know that I’m a really aggressive child. I compete at any time when I play something — golf, petanca,” said Alcaraz after winning the Madrid Masters this year. “I do not prefer to lose.”

At his side is coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 French Open winner who also took the number one ranking at the US Open later that year.

“I’d love for Carlos to win 30 Grand Slams. There will probably be a variety of possibilities,” Ferrero, who began working with Alcaraz when he was just 15, told Spanish radio.

Alcaraz was already winning junior European and Spanish titles in lower categories under the guidance of Albert Molina, an agent with IMG.

Molina established the Alcaraz-Ferrero partnership.

Ferrero then brought Alcaraz into his academy in Valencia, 120km from El Palmar.

His raw potential soon attracted sponsors with marquee brands such as Nike and Rolex rushing to sign up Nadal’s heir apparent.

The tennis team around the prodigy was also expanding and soon included a physical trainer, a physiotherapist and the support of psychologists and doctors.

An indication of his potential was obvious at the Rio claycourt event in 2020 when he was just 16, and ranked 406 in the world, he shocked Albert Ramos Vinolas to register his first ATP win.

Alcaraz and Ferrero have developed a deep professional and personal bond.

That relationship was sealed when Ferrero, having returned home following the death of his father, quickly crossed the Atlantic again just in time to see Alcaraz win his first Masters title at Miami in March, beating Ruud in the final.

Promoted

“Let him circulate, let him play,” said Ferrero when asked to plot his pupil’s future trajectory.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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