The tennis world is buzzing at the emergence of its new superstar. Carlos Alcaraz has taken the Association of Tennis Professionals, ATP tour by storm in 2022. The 19- year-old is having a gargantuan year, winning four titles along the way, the latest being his victory at the Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid, Spain. The teenager beat his idol, Rafa Nadal, Serbian world number one, Novak Djokovic, and Alexander Zverev, to lift the title. It comes as no surprise that there is excitement surrounding the Spanish starlet.
Ever since the emergence of Rafa and Novak in the mid-2000s, there has been a shortage of eligible breakout stars in the tennis world. A few have flattened to deceive, but none that have put everyone on notice. His athleticism and power are reminiscent of when a young Rafa Nadal first burst on the scene. He has a tenacity and drive that are unmatched by anyone in his set. And the most unbelievable part of his rise is the fact that he is only 19, and has a lot of improvements to make to his game.
He is still very raw; and with the help of his coaching staff, that is definitely a scary thought for his opponents that enhancements can still be made to what is already a very formidable skill set that the Spaniard possesses. Legends, past and present, have been stunned and very impressed by the ability of Carlos, and believe we truly have found the face of the sport when the old guard finally bows out.
Toni Nadal, the uncle and former coach of 21-time major champion, Rafa Nadal, has spoken on the ability of Alcaraz, saying to El pais, ‘Physically, he is a marvel; his determination is enviable, and technically, he has no shortcomings. “For years, I have worried about the void my nephew would likely leave in our sport when he retired – now I am convinced that this gap will be completely filled.”
Nadal also believes the Madrid Open champion is in a league of his own among the youngsters in the game.
He explained: “Today, I don’t see any player of the so-called Next Gen who can overshadow him.
“One lacks mentality, another has problems with pushing; some with backhand, others with tournaments on clay, and almost all with continuity and determination.
“No matter how good tennis players are, and some are, I think none of them has the full characteristics that Alcaraz combines.”
Some tennis pundits felt the hype around the Spanish teenager was too much, and that it was disrespectful comparing him to tennis greats when he hasn’t even won a grandslam yet, and rightfully so. He is the most in form player on tour; and with the French Open, the second slam of the year kicking off on May 22, it presents the Spaniard with a crack at a major.
How will his new status affect his game? We have seen many talented superstars who struggle with the demands and expectations that come with success at such an early age, So far, he has handled himself with the experience of a veteran; and what the future holds for the talented teenager will be down to him, his racket, and his ability to handle adversity when the situation arises.