- Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz is taking the tennis world by storm.
- According to elite coaches, his superior prowess on the court is the key to his success.
- “He has a lot of differences,” England coach Dean Gayton told Insider. “He’s the complete package.”
Young tennis star Carlos Alcaraz will play the biggest match of his career on Tuesday when he meets Alexander Zverev in the French Open quarter-finals.
Under normal circumstances, world number three Zverev would be the favorite to win.
However, Alcaraz is no ordinary 19-year-old.
Already this year, the Spaniard won four singles titles, more than any other player on the men’s tour.
He first won the Rio Open in February before winning both the Miami Open and Barcelona Open in April. He then won the Madrid Open in May, defeating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches en route to defeating Zverev in the final.
Alcaraz has not only beaten Nadal, Djokovic and Zverev this year, but also surpassed Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz and Cameron Nouri, as well as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini twice each.
The teenager leaves everyone behind and is ready to do the same again if he finishes the quarter-finals in Paris.
“People will think I’m one of the favorites to win the Roland Garros,” he told reporters after his first-round victory over Juan Ignacio Londero last week. “I don’t have stress, I have motivation.”
Aside from his super level of confidence, what makes Alkaraz so special at such a young age? According to top tennis coaches, its versatility is on the court.
“It’s a new generation of players,” Alistair Higham, the head club coach for the Lone Tennis Association (LTA), told Insider.
“The diversity of his game is refreshing, combining the fast club head speed and heavy top spin so familiar to Spanish players with the touch and network play most associated with the older generation. His speed on the pitch is breathtaking.”
“He is very quick to adapt and adapt to the way he wants to play depending on who he plays,” said Dean Gayton. Insider said a Northamptonshire tennis coach has worked with young players in Spain, Australia and Dubai.
Gayton added that he can see elements from Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray in Alcaraz’s playing style.
“What he offers is an aggressive play style like Federer, the ability to grind, act and physically beat your opponent like Nadal, the ability to move around and cover the field and hit back like Djokovic, but he also has the touch, the dexterity, the falling shots like Murray.
“He has many variations. He can be strong, he can be accurate, he can take points from the baseline, or he can shoot and play 30 or 40 shots. He can go in and shoot, he can shoot deep or he can shoot with a touch.
“It’s the complete package.”
If Alcaraz beat Zverev at the French Open on Tuesday, he will face either Nadal or Djokovic in the final four of the tournament, depending on which one wins when they face each other.
Prior to Roland Garros, Djokovic said Alcaraz was one of the “main candidates” to win and described the “special” youngster as “the best player in the world” at the moment.
The semi-final match against Nadal or Djokovic in the French capital could be a milestone for Alcaraz and the men’s tour, and represents a change of guard across generations.
After the youngster beat Nadal at the Madrid Open, the veteran Spaniard acknowledged that it was the beginning of the swap.
“Carlos is 19 and I’m 36, so of course that’s a delivery order,” he said.
The Caraz himself agrees and is ready to pass the torch.
“I’m still young but I would say I’m a very experienced player now,” he said last week. “I feel comfortable playing in big stadiums, big matches and major tournaments. I am strong physically. I am strong mentally as well. I think I am ready to play these kinds of games in these situations, these tournaments.
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