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French Open 2022: From baby-faced prodigy to conqueror, Alcaraz units sights on Grand Slam glory

In a 12 months of memorable firsts for Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spaniard has reworked himself from being simply one other recent face with immense potential to a real menace on the boys’s tour and a favourite for the French Open.

His meteoric rise in 12 months was underlined by changing into the youngest ATP 500 champion in historical past at 18 and the youngest participant to beat each Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic on the similar claycourt occasion.

Last 12 months, Alcaraz celebrated his 18th birthday with a match towards his idol Nadal in Madrid however the dream state of affairs shortly become a nightmare when the 13-time French Open champion dismantled him 6-1 6-2 in simply 78 minutes.

But this 12 months, Alcaraz was higher ready and the change was evident as {the teenager} proved to be bodily stronger and displayed past his years in decisive moments.

He marked his nineteenth birthday in a whirlwind week in Madrid by beating three of the highest 5 — Nadal, Djokovic and Alexander Zverev — en path to his second Masters title regardless of a sore ankle.

Carlos Alcaraz reacts after successful a degree towards Casper Ruud (not pictured) within the males’s singles last within the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. (USA TODAY Sports)

“I saw that the last time a player beat the top four players in a row in three matches was (David) Nalbandian in 2007. Of course it (gives) me a lot of confidence,” Alcaraz stated.

This feat, nonetheless, appears extra like an indication of issues to come back moderately than a blip on the boys’s tour.


Ranked a hundred and twentieth a 12 months in the past, Alcaraz is now quantity six on the earth, one rung beneath Nadal forward of the French Open — the primary Grand Slam Nadal received in 2005 when he was the hungry 19-year-old turning heads on the tour.

The comparisons drawn between the 2 Spaniards have been inevitable when Alcaraz began dominating on clay earlier than he went on to tame the hardcourts through the US swing earlier this 12 months.

Nadal is probably not able to cross the torch on but however he has warmed as much as the way forward for Spanish tennis and put an arm round Alcaraz, not simply to encourage him but in addition to guard him from the media frenzy.

Alcaraz-Nadal Carlos Alcaraz Garfia with Rafael Nadal after their quarter last match. (Reuters)

“If he’s able to win 25 Grand Slams, it’s going to be amazing for him and for our country, and I’ll be happy for him. But let him enjoy his personal career,” Nadal warned. “Don’t put extra pressure on him.”

The hegemony of the ageing ‘Big Three’ in males’s tennis has lasted longer than anticipated with up-and-coming contenders proving to be nothing greater than one-off winners however there’s real perception that Alcaraz can change that.

“He definitely is special… (At) Roland Garros, he’s definitely one of the main favourites, no doubt, even though he has never reached the second week of a Grand Slam,” stated Djokovic when the world primary was overwhelmed in Madrid.

Carlos Alcaraz Alcaraz was assured to maneuver into the highest 10 after reaching the semifinals.(Twitter/@atptour)

Grand Slam champions Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem regarded rusty after they made their returns from damage whereas Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas have been unable to transform titles into Grand Slam success, typically wilting beneath the burden of expectations.

But Alcaraz is keen to show his mettle.

“People are going to think that I’m going to be one of the favorites to win Roland Garros but I always said that I have a different view,” Alcaraz stated after his dream run in Madrid.

“I don’t have it as tension, I have it as a motivation.”

With inputs from TheIndianEXPRESS


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