MADRID ( Associated Press) — It’s been a quick rise for Carlos Alcaraz.
It wasn’t too long ago that the 19-year-old Spaniard was playing in youth tennis tournaments and talking about his idols Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and his dream of one day breaking into the top 10 and winning the French Open. was talking about. Wimbledon.
A year ago, he broke into the top 120 for the first time and started making it to the main tournament.
At that time only a few could predict what the future would hold for the young Spaniard. But next week the Alcaraz will be among the top contenders for winning the French Open in Paris.
The Spaniard is tennis’s newest sensation and the hottest player on tour this year, considered by many to be Nadal’s successor.
Lifting the trophy after consecutive victories over Nadal, top-ranked Novak Djokovic and third-placed Alexander Zverev, Alcaraz won the Madrid Open on Sunday for his tour-leading fourth title of the season.
“I remember the first time I was playing, when I was a kid in[the Spanish city]Murcia, and of course I didn’t imagine the moment that I was going to be able to reach this level. Right now Here, winning the Madrid Open,” he said.
Alkaraz is the second youngest player to reach the top 10 and the second youngest to win two Masters 1000 tournaments. Only Nadal did both jobs at a young age of 18 in 2005.
“I can see him grow up in a very short time,” said fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas. “I really want to reach the level he is at now. I think to be honest he is one of the best players in the world. He has proved it with consistent results, has finished in the biggest tournaments There’s nothing you can take away from it.”
Alcaraz led the tour this year with 28 wins, one more than Tsitsipas. His only three losses were against Sebastian Korda at Monte Carlo, Nadal at Indian Wells and Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open.
He is the youngest player in ATP Tour history to defeat three of the top five players in the same event, and the first player to eliminate Nadal and Djokovic in the same clay-court event.
Djokovic and Nadal only praised the young player, with Djokovic saying it was “impressive for someone his age to play so maturely and boldly.” Nadal said Spain should celebrate being “an amazing player for many years to come”.
Alcaraz was on the front pages of most of Spain’s sports newspapers on Monday, although Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid were making headlines despite facing each other in the Spanish league derby on Sunday.
“Blessed,” the AS newspaper said of Alkaraz.
Looking more mature than his age, Alcarz has impressed with a perfect game that is highlighted by a devastating forehand and precise drop shots. He didn’t give Zverev a break in Sunday’s final in Madrid.
Alcaraz does not play in Rome this week so he could make a full recovery from a right ankle injury in the quarter-final against Nadal in the Spanish capital.
The youngster will take on Roland Garros, where Nadal is a record 13-time champion, a career-high No. 6. He reached the third round on his debut in Paris last year, losing in three sets to Jan-Lenard Struff.
“I think people will think I’m going to be one of the favorites to win Roland Garros,” Alcarz said. “I don’t look at it as pressure, I look at it as inspiration. I’m really looking forward to going to Paris, fighting for the Grand Slam, and I’m really looking forward to showing my great level in the Grand Slam as well Am. “
Associated Press Sportswriter Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this report.
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