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Alcaraz ascent is talk of tour as 'Big Three' brace for shake-up

China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-11 07:04
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Carlos Alcaraz poses with the trophy after winning the Madrid Open final against Alexander Zverev on Sunday. [Photo/Agencies]

Spanish teenager hailed as 'best in world' this season

Few players have rivaled Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic over the past two decades, but Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz threatens to upend tennis' established order after a dizzying rise to stardom.

Alcaraz, who only turned 19 last Thursday, became the first player to beat Nadal and Djokovic on clay at the same tournament on his way to a second Masters 1000 title in Madrid.

Seemingly preordained for greatness, Alcaraz has so far delivered on the promise, described by beaten finalist Alexander Zverev as "right now the best player in the world".

He became the youngest US Open quarterfinalist of the Open era last September, then won his first Masters crown in Miami in early April. Only Nadal has won two such titles at a younger age.

"It feels great to be able to beat these players. To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the world No 3. He is a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life," Alcaraz said in his on-court interview before pulling out of the Italian Open in Rome to rest a sore ankle ahead of the French Open which begins on May 22.

Coached by former world No 1 and 2003 Roland Garros champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alcaraz knows he has some way to go.

"I still have to improve in everything," he said. "I have very good shots, but they can be improved and can be much better."

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