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Carlos Alcaraz Dominates In Rise To Top Ten

Alcaraz is making ripples in the tennis word, defeating the likes of Djokovic and Nadal. But can the teenager sustain his form deep into the French Open?

After a rapid display of power and finesse, Carlos Alcaraz has catapulted himself into the top ten rankings. In crushing a series of formidable opponents at key tournaments, Alcaraz has stunned the tennis world, increasing his potential for grand slam success.

At Roland Garros on Sunday, he made a strong start, beating Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 6-2, 6-0.

Alcaraz vs Londero, 2022 Roland Garros, First Round

Since February this year, Alcaraz has won multiple ATP Masters 500 and 1000 events, starting with Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona, and Madrid.

Within these big tournament runs, Alcaraz is becoming statistically and historically significant. He is the youngest ever champion of Rio, Miami and Madrid and the youngest ever ATP 500 champion.

In Madrid, Alcaraz became the youngest player to defeat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the same event and the first player to beat them at the same event on clay.

Earlier in the year, Alcaraz reached 50 ATP career wins in the fewest attempts (70 matches). So far in 2022, he also leads the field in most wins, with 29.

The potential aura of greatness that ever so slightly exudes from the 19-year-old impacts commentators and players alike.

Speaking at a press conference in Rome after his Madrid loss, Djokovic noted that Alcaraz “is definitely special…he’s breaking a lot of records as a teenager, winning two Masters events this year, a couple of 500s. So far, he’s the best player in the world, no question, this year with the results he’s been getting.”

If numbers and encouraging words weren’t enough to predict a burgeoning career, on 25 April at Barcelona, he broke into the top ten on the same day and at the same event, Nadal had done 17 years prior.

Since his Madrid final victory over Alexander Zverev, he has cemented his position, reaching the number six ranking from nine.

Underpinning his success is a blend of favoured tactics, playing style and intense physicality that outclasses many players in the field today.

In a third-round match against Marin Cilic at Miami, he executed the drop-shot to perfection, rallying hard from the baseline, then suddenly altering his shot selection, leaving his opponent stranded behind the baseline.

He was also taking the ball early on the return of serve and standing on top of the baseline, denying Cilic any chance of recovery between shots and getting on the front foot to boost his forehand and backhand.

Alcaraz vs Cilic, 2022 Miami Open, Third Round

These tactics speak of a broader, aggressive style, as showcased in the Madrid quarter-final against Nadal. Here, Alcaraz consistently aimed for shots that painted the sidelines or went for serves on the “T” and in the corners.

As a result, his countryman was left on the defensive. Unphased by the occasion, Alcaraz maintained an offensive mindset, unloading powerfully on almost every groundstroke and coming forward to finish points at the net with little hesitation.

Alcaraz vs Nadal, 2022 Madrid Open, Quarter Finals

Roars of “Vamos!” echo throughout his matches, betraying his zeal for competition. Alcaraz’s physicality, however, is arguably the essential part of his game at this stage of his career.

The flexibility of movement on clay, and his ability to change direction on hard courts, mean he is tough to beat in an extended rally.

Even when on the defensive and behind the baseline, his rapid footwork timed with very loose wrist extension helps produce a forehand winner out of nowhere, passing opponents at the net.

His youth and tremendous shoulder strength enable him to impart heavy topspin or hit down from on-high, flattening out balls with speed. This all-around game offers broad tactical variation and keeps opponents guessing his next move.

The temptation to compare Alcaraz to Djokovic, Nadal and even Roger Federer is bubbling in my mind. One cannot look back at their early days and not observe the Spaniard paralleling the greats’ early success in a fashion.

But while Alcaraz has yet to prove himself more fully on grass courts, his confidence and belief have reached new heights at the perfect time.

Into the second round of Roland Garros, this could be the stage where we see one of the youngest talents breakthrough in a grand slam.

alcaraz french open

What is the key to Alcaraz’s victories so far? Does his success portend a future career like the big three? And will he continue his impressive form at the French Open? Leave your comments below.

Alex Nulliah

My name is Alex Nulliah and I am a tennis writer from Bath. I enjoy writing about tennis, International Relations and anything else which takes my interest. At Exeter University I took a BA in History and an MA in Applied Security Strategy. I love playing tennis.

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8 Comments

    1. Thanks Alex. Alcaraz is threatening good, seems to have it all to prevail. I’m no least impressed by his choosing dropshots and banging from the net just at the right moment. His footwork and other movement as well. This combined with impressive power and ease, makes him the new wonder-boy by all probability?

      1. Yes,as long as he doesn’t get injured.We have seen these precocious young talents before.Let’s see how it goes.From what I’ve seen so far Djoker and Nadal are going to be hard to beat,especially over five sets.To Tsitsipas advantage that they are all on the other half of the draw.Would love to see him win it to be honest,lovely game reminiscent of Fed.

      2. He first has to beat the young talent Musetti, whom I like better. Just now M leads 2 sets ro love, although T has just broken his serve in 1 ov the games in 3. set. So he may come on, but he has to win 3 sets in a 5-setter now to do it, whereas M…

  1. Thank you for the great summary. I love Carlos and similar to Fed, he can make shots that no one else can on a consistent basis. He is also humble and positive on the court, not constantly whining about a missed shot or yelling at his box. If he loses, he acknowledges the victor with class. He is our future, I hope.

    1. Stuart, I nearly agree. But still I am a bit hoping for Musetti, now giving Tsitsipas a hard fight, leading 2 sets to love a moment ago.

      1. (Ah well M lost. Not the first time his winning 2 sets (did same versus Djokovic and maybe others) and then go off. He’s still young and may improve…I hope.)

  2. Thanks for the write-up, Alex. This young talent is getting so much attention! Wish him well. BUT, he along with other young ones….please stop looking at your box every point! Drives me to drink.

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