With Carlos Alcaraz, time seems elastic. As a good compatriot of Salvador Dali, the young Spaniard gives the impression of laughing at the rigidity of time. At home, the watches are not soft, but the young man seems to have the power to speed them up.
Sunday May 8, the one who will be world number 6 on Monday made short work of the German Alexander Zverev in the final of the Masters 1000 in Madrid (6-3, 6-1, in one hour and two minutes), after successively beating Rafael Nadal on Friday and Novak Djokovic on Saturday – a first for the same player in a clay-court tournament. Two weeks before Roland-Garros, he is establishing himself as one of the favorites for the Parisian Grand Slam tournament. At just 19 years old – he celebrated them on Thursday.
Because Carlos Alcaraz is no longer the “future” of world tennis. Double winner of the Madrid tournament but powerless against the Spanish tornado on Sunday, the world number 3 is not mistaken. “Today you are the best player in the world”, assured Zverev after his defeat. And he too seems taken by the way of twisting the time of the kid from Murcia. “Even if you’re only five years old [sic], you kick ass all of us, and it’s good for tennis to see a big star like you emerge. You will win many Grand Slam tournaments, and be number 1 in the world. » The day before, “Sasha” (his nickname) predicted a bright future for the one who, more and more, assumes the heavy label of “new Nadal”. ” [Ici, à Madrid], it was Rafa’s court for fifteen years, it will be Alcaraz’s for the next fifteen years. »
If last year, his trainer, Juan Carlos Ferrero – winner of Roland-Garros in 2003 – assured that his protege was not “not in a hurry” and was talking about “season to grow”, Alcaraz has grown in size this season, and not just in the shoulders and arms. Winner of two Masters 1000 – the highest tournaments on the circuit behind those of the Grand Slam – this season (in Miami and Madrid), the young Spaniard has a huge appetite. And leaves only crumbs on the way: he won the five finals he played on the professional circuit.
“I feel capable of competing with the best”
“For someone his age to play so mature and brave is impressive”, greeted Novak Djokovic after his defeat in the semi-finals. The Serbian world number 1 with twenty Grand Slam titles has seen others, but he is full of praise for his young opponent.
Two weeks before the start of Roland-Garros, Carlos Alcaraz is no longer hiding. “I feel capable of competing with the best players in the world, like Nadal or Djokovic, in all tournaments and on all surfaces”, assured the player on Saturday. If his experience during the Grand Slam tournaments, and their best-of-five-sets format, is still tender – he only made his debut at Porte d’Auteuil in 2021 – Alcaraz is “feels ready”.
In Madrid, the protege of Juan Carlos Ferrero said he came to attend the tournament in the Spanish capital “kid, when [il] have[t] 6 or 7 years old ». The Masters 1000 is now on your hunting board, which he does not plan to close anytime soon.
Barely installed at the top of world tennis, and yet to confirm in Grand Slam, the “Next Gen” embodied by Alexander Zverev or the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas is already on the way to being overtaken by a tougher kid than her. “If I think I have a limit? I do not believe “to souri Carlos Alcaraz.