Carlos Alcaraz wins Miami: the youngest after Nadal and Chang

Of course, after his overall victory in Miami, Carlos Alcaraz fell dramatically to the ground, clasping his hands over his head and beaming skyward as if he couldn’t imagine what an incredible feat he had achieved. It’s the universally recognized celebratory ritual for tennis pros, followed by a heartfelt hug with the coach. So Alcaraz also ran to Juan Carlos Ferrero, who initially stayed in Spain due to a bereavement in the family, but then flew extra so as not to miss the first Masters success of his career. protected 18 years old. 7:5, 6:4 against Casper Ruud (Norway) was the victory in numbers.

So far, so normal, one might think, but of course it’s not: looking at Alcaraz’s performance this year – at the Australian Open he lost in the third round to Matteo Berrettini in the fifth-set tie-break, after which he won Rio and lost a thriller to compatriot Rafael Nadal in the Indian Wells semi-final – this success is quite believable. Alcaraz has been considered for years as a possible future for this sport; but now that future has become the present, and that brings him back to, among other things, his coach.

Ferrero has worked with Alcaraz since 2019. Prior to that, he had been the coach of Alexander Zverev for seven months – who was then considered a secure future and has now arrived in a present where he lost his first game against Tommy Paul ( USA, 24) in Indian Wells and Miami against eventual finalist Ruud (23) in the quarterfinals. At the time, Ferrero said the reasons for the separation were that there were different views on how tennis professionals should behave off the court: “Things like eating, resting or deal with the rest of the team.”

It’s not supposed to be about the end of the Zverev-Ferrero relationship, especially since Zverev has won six titles in the past year, including the Olympics and ATP Finals at the end of the season. season – all he needs is a Grand Slam success. (or a victory against a top player in one of these great tournaments) in the illustrious collection in the meantime. It should be someone who could prevent this very success, because the arrival at the top of the world has become a reality thanks to this triumph in Miami: Alcaraz is now in eleventh place in the world ranking in the following tournaments on clay in Europe (and with him also the French Open) he is one of the favorites, and the reasons for this could be admired on the rather slow hard courts in the United States.

Mentioning the nimble legs of a Spanish tennis pro is a bit like saying that the German national soccer team is a tournament team or that a Mexican boxer is aggressive. It’s just that Alcaraz transcends even that cliché and that was especially evident in the Indian Wells game against Nadal when you stood in the stands behind the baseline and witnessed the live speed : Nadal himself is nimble Hardly anyone else, but above all he is a master in the art of organizing exchanges: he patiently varies the speed, the spin and the angle until the opponent becomes slower, less focused and therefore more impatient. However, Alcaraz didn’t do any of that, and that’s why the match against Nadal looked like a hare-hedgehog duel at one point – only with two opponents, both of whom were hare-hedgehog hybrids.

Alcaraz’s weakness is always the service

The most fascinating thing about Alcaraz right now, however, is his mental toughness considering he’s only 18 – he’s the youngest Masters winner in history after Nadal and Michael Chang (USA). He doesn’t look carefree, but rather scammed: he stays completely calm even during setbacks (he was trailing 4-1 in the first set of the final) and doesn’t argue furiously when the referee commits so many mistakes. errors. others, but bids like in the Miami semi-final against Hubert Hurkacz (Poland) to simply repeat the point. Before that, in Miami he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece), also a possible future for the sport, and in the quarter-finals against Miomir Kecmanovic (Serbia, previously won against Indian Wells winner Taylor Fritz) the break tied the third set for himself decided.

Legs and head in combination, rabbit-hedgehog hybrid; the only notable weakness at the moment is the accuracy of the serve; According to Ferrero, Alcaraz is working on exactly that so he doesn’t have any real weaknesses – like Nadal. “Congratulations on your historic triumph in Miami,” he tweeted moments after that Alcaraz victory: “This is the first of a long series that will surely follow.” The future of men’s tennis is now; not just because the winner is 18. The average age of semi-finalists Alcaraz, Ruud, Hurkacz and Francisco Cerundolo (Argentina): 22 years old.


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