Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The three great names, who marked a generation, dominated tennis for decades and delighted thousands of fans, are heading towards the end of their careers and, for a few years now, fans have been waiting for a successor, someone from the new generation who proves capable of carrying the responsibility of succeeding three geniuses.
Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev… Many promises have emerged in recent years, they had their moments, but they never consolidated to the point of breaking the dominance of the Big 3, which even after 30 years continued to accumulate titles. So far.
Carlos Alcaraz lifts the Madrid Masters 1000 trophy — Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
The year 2022 seems to have brought the end of that wait with the meteoric rise of a young man, just 19 years old, just turned, on May 5th, named Carlos Alcaraz Garfía. It’s obviously too early for any guarantees, but Carlitos has shown that he can dominate the professional tennis circuit for years to come.
In just over four months, the Spaniard went from a promise to consolidate himself as a reality, breaking records and winning heavyweight titles along the way. From the youngest Grand Slam seed in history, in January, at the Australian Open, to the earliest champion of the Masters 1000 in Miami and now Madrid.
The title in the Spanish capital was the culmination of a fantastic start to the season, Alcaraz’s fourth title in 2022 (ATP 500 in Rio and Barcelona, in addition to the two Masters 1000), the best mark among all men tennis players. Not only for the relevance of the trophy, but along the way, beating Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev (number 3 in the world) on consecutive days.
“You are the best player in the world at the moment. Even though you are only five years old, you beat us all,” Zverev told Carlos after the 2-0 loss in the final.
Carlitos’ growth on the circuit drew comparisons to Nadal, also a Spaniard and as precocious as his compatriot. But it is possible, and daring, to say that the boy is a mixture of the trio of tennis geniuses. Roger Federer’s aggressiveness, Nadal’s speed and Djokovic’s coldness, all characteristics present in this Murcia phenomenon.
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates victory over Rafael Nadal — Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Carlos shows an impressive maturity for someone who, until the other day, didn’t even compete among the professionals. Against Nadal, he overcame a sprained ankle and had the mental strength to get back in the game after getting a 6-1 draw in the second set.
Against Djoko, he overcame a bad start, in which he barely managed to play in the Serb’s serves, and looked for an impressive comeback, without losing concentration, always maintaining the aggressive game, showing control in all the blows and with his trademark: the balls shorts that catch all opponents off guard, even the current best in the world.
The Madrid final was an Alcaraz recital. Against a rival six years older, it was the young Spaniard who showed maturity, dominated the match and made Sascha lose himself emotionally. Absolutely dominant victory over a rival fighting for the top of the world. This is all on clay, which is not my favorite surface.
It’s just the beginning of a career, but it’s impossible not to be in awe of what Carlitos has been doing in 2022 and dream of what he can be in the years to come. The future of tennis has arrived and it’s called Carlos Alcaraz Garfía. enjoy.