It has long been known that Carlos Alcaraz was predestined, but no one imagined that he could beat the competition at just 19 years old. The very young Spaniard is living a dream season, which has led him to become the youngest number 1 in the history of men’s tennis.
In 2022 alone, Juan Carlos Ferrero’s protégé won the US Open, two Masters 1000 (Miami and Madrid) and two ATP 500 (Rio and Barcelona). His trip to New York left everyone in awe, as did his ability to handle pressure.
‘Carlitos’ won three straight games in the fifth set, even canceling a match point for Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals. In the final he beat Casper Ruud, in what was a real tiebreaker for the first place in the ATP ranking.
After the usual photos in Times Square, the Iberian has already flown to Valencia to help his Spain in the Davis Cup. In a long interview with L’Equipe, Mats Wilander dedicated beautiful words to Alcaraz.
Wilander praises Alcaraz
“Carlos Alcaraz is the product of Roger (Federer), Rafa (Nadal) and Novak (Djokovic).
He grew up watching them on television. He takes from Rafa the passion and love for competition. The artistic side of him he takes from Roger, the dropshots, the serve and the volley, etc. And he takes from Novak his flexibility and quality of movement from him.
I’m not sure he moves better than Novak, but he’s faster. Despite everything, his passion is different from Rafa’s: he fights with a smile. We have never seen that! Maybe with Gustavo Kuerten, but different… he tries more redemptions than any great player has tried.
In truth, it is a product of a sport that belongs to Roger, Rafa and Novak. I thought Stefanos Tsitsipas could be that product. Carlos Alcaraz took it even further», said Mats Wilander. After the final, Alcaraz explained the mental side of things and the ability to maintain mental balance throughout the tournament.
“All three elements are super important. The level of all that was very high. I was surprised at how strong he was mentally. After losing the 3rd set against Sinner, after losing the 4th against Tiafoe. I was hard. I wasn’t always mentally strong as a kid.
It’s amazing to be the youngest #1 in history.» said the young man. He further said, “But it’s much harder what the Big 3 are doing: staying on top for 20 years. Thats what Im looking for. I don’t want to compare myself to them, but I want to be like them.»