Saturday, July 22, 2023

10 fun things to know about Carlos Alcaraz

I'm of course tennis crazy. Crazy about playing it. Crazy about watching it. Some of my favorite men's players (I love the women too!) over the years have been John McEnroe, Jimmy Conners, Andre Agassi (look for some articles from me about him soon because I'm reading his memoir), Gustavo Kuerten, Rafael Nadal, and now, with Nadal's career in its twilight, young, 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz is quickly assuming the status as my favorite player.

For good reason too. After winning the US Open last fall (and along the way becoming the youngest player to reach the quarterfinals there since 1990), he's added his second major victory with Sunday's classic five-set win over the the little-liked Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. It was a beautiful thing to witness all five hours. 

And now, since we'll be seeing a lot more of Carlito, here are 10 things that will help you too like the kid even more.

  1. To be precise, the Wimbledon final was 4 hours and 42 minutes and was the third-longest final in Wimbledon history. 
  2. Even Djokovik was graceful in defeat. He said, "I must say, the slices, the chipping returns, the net play — it's very impressive. I didn't expect him to play so well this year on grass, but he's proven that he's the best player in the world, no doubt." 
  3. Alcaraz grew up in El Palmar, named for the palm trees oddly located in the inland Spanish village, where his once semi-pro dad ran a tennis academy.
  4. Little Carlito started playing tennis at age 3 with his three brothers, quickly becoming "spectacular," according to early coaches.
  5. Hard to believe now, since Carlos is so even tempered and courteous, but he apparently started out with a McEnroe-like hot temper. He has even said he was "a totally different person" back then and that he didn't actually enjoy tennis as much as he does now.
  6. Alcaraz is the youngest player to reach the top 10 in the ATP rankings since Nadal in 2005.
  7. His coach is Juan Carlos Ferrero, who won the French Open in 2003, the same year Alcaraz was born. He has obviously been doing a tremendous job navigating Alcaraz to the number 1 world ranking.
  8. His actual style can most succinctly be described as aggressive, with a powerful forehand, and his idol is Nadal, with whom he indeed has many similarities in style.
  9. He loves basketball and his favorite team is the Real Madrid hoops squad.
  10. With Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Nadal, and even Djokovik having retired or getting close to retirement, Alcaraz truly has a chance to assume a tennis throne for many years ahead, as the leader of a huge pack of possible contenders.

No comments:

Post a Comment