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Carlos Alcaraz: the emergence of a new tennis superstar

We’ll be hearing a great deal of the 18-year-old Spaniard in the coming years

“Remember the name,” said Stuart Fraser in The Times: we’ll be hearing a great deal of Carlos Alcaraz in the coming years. On Sunday, the 18-year-old Spaniard showed why he’s considered the hottest prospect in men’s tennis by “becoming the youngest male champion in the history of the Miami Open”. His 7-5, 6-4 victory over world No. 8 Casper Ruud was the culmination of a “momentous two weeks” that also saw him defeat two other top ten players, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz. Ranked 31 at the start of the season, Alcaraz is now up to 11: he has won 18 of the 20 matches he’s played this year. 

Make no mistake, Alcaraz is the real deal, said Joel Drucker on Tennis.com. He grew up in Murcia in southeastern Spain; he’s coached by former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero; and he’s not just a potential star, he’s a “supernova” – the sort of player who comes along once a decade. His game is a “rare synthesis of tenacity and artistry” that seems custom-built to terrify opponents. His ground strokes are phenomenally powerful; no one is faster round the court; and his game has wonderful variety: feathery drop shots, deft angled volleys... the lot. Such a breadth of skills would be impressive in any player. “To see it in an 18-year-old is staggering.”

Alcaraz’s emergence may also answer the “lingering question” of what will happen in men’s tennis once Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer retire, said Tumaini Carayol in The Guardian. So many new players have “risen to immense fanfare” then fallen away. But with his sublime skills, Alcaraz looks a class apart. The season is about to enter its clay court swing, said Matthew Futterman in The New York Times, and clay happens to be Alcaraz’s best surface. Depending on how the next two months go, he “could arrive at Roland Garros as a favourite”.

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