How do you recognize a future crack ready to conquer a new tennis world that will soon be stripped of its “Holy Trinity” Federer-Nadal-Djokovic? He is generally a player who learns quickly and well. Carlos Alcaraz is one of them, but with him, the present is combined with the urgent. Still 141and world at the start of 2021, the Spaniard, who celebrated his 19th birthday on May 3, emerges today at 6and rank. The French public will have the opportunity to spy on the phenomenon, claiming the title at Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5).
Barely three months after the start of the season, Alcaraz had already ticked off all the objectives set in December with its trainer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, former world number 1 and winner at Porte d’Auteuil in 2003. Joining the top 15? Business folded at the end of March. After lifting his first trophy in the summer of 2021 in Umag (Croatia), an ATP 250 tournament, he was aiming for the level just above (ATP 500). This was done in February in Rio. “Afterwards, we said to ourselves, well, the next goal is to try to win a Masters 1000”, he recounted once this mission accomplished in Miami, which earned him to have the king of Spain on the phone. And after ? Only the ultimate category remains. The Graal. The Grand Slams.
He is obliged to think about it this year. “I have reviewed my objectives for the rest of the season, so yes, try to win a Grand Slam or reach a semi-final or a final”answered the World, at the beginning of April in Monte-Carlo, the young man, who would almost apologize for this voracity, despite his carnivorous smile. After his victories in Barcelona on April 24 and then in Madrid a fortnight later, where he became the first to beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament on clay, he endorsed the label of favorite in Paris: ” I’m ready. »
Alcaraz dusts off precocity records. When he won, at 17, three Challenger tournaments, the antechamber of the main circuit, we exhumed the archives: only Richard Gasquet did better, signing the same hat-trick at 16 years and 10 months. Already at 15, when “Carlitos” won his first match on this circuit, the Spanish press noted that he was in the same time frame as Nadal. Since then, not a day goes by without the comparison with his idol coming back to his ears.
“He will be unstoppable”
The nearly 36-year-old Iberian legend says all the good things she thinks of her younger brother, who defeated her, on May 6, for the first time, on her beloved surface and, as a symbol, in Madrid: “I think he will be unstoppable. It has all the ingredients. He’s got the passion, a great team by his side, he’s humble enough to work hard, he’s a good guy. He reminds me a lot of when I was 17 or 18.”, observed Nadal, who, without offending David Ferrer, Fernando Verdasco and other Nicolas Almagro, will have had to wait for the twilight of his career to have a compatriot at his height. At the end of January, in Melbourne, like an old sage, the Mallorcan had sprinkled his praises with caution: “Afterwards, the question is how much he can improve over the next two years. This is what will make the difference between a very good player and an extraordinary champion. »
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