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Carlos Alcaraz: The Next Generation of Men's Tennis

Ben Shin

Paris, France - May 31, 2022: Professional tennis player Carlos Alcaraz of Spain in action during his quarter-final match against Alexander Zverev of Germany at 2022 Roland Garros in Paris, France

Born in El Palmar, Murcia Spain, on May 5, 2003, Alcaraz began playing tennis at the age of four. He was inspired by his father, Carlos Alacaz Gonzalez, a former top 40 player in Spain, and one of his countrymen, Rafael Nadal. At the age of 15, Carlos went professional by playing International Tennis Foundation (ITF) Future events and Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) challenger matches. He won three titles on the ITF circuit and four titles on the Challenger tour. He played his first ATP event in Riodegenerio in 2020, winning his first round match against Ramos Vinolas, but falling short to Federcio Coria in the second round. He made his Australian Open debut when he was just 17 years old, making him the youngest participant in the tournament.

In July of 2021, he won his first ATP 250 event after crushing 35 year old Frenchman Richard Gasquet in two sets, scoring 6-2, 6-2 at the Croatia Open Umag. Alcaraz held nothing back, losing only 15 points on his serve and wrapping up the match in 77 minutes. In winning the tournament, Alcaraz became the youngest champion in Umag history and the third-youngest ATP titlist since 2000, joining Kei Nishikori and Rafael Nadal. The tournament showed that Alcaraz had incredible talent, warning the rest of the tour to watch out his potential.

Alcacarz then won his first ATP Tour Masters 1000 tournament at the Miami Open, defeating Casper Ruud in the finals. The accomplishment was a huge moment in the young player's career as the win propelled his ranking into the top ten. Before that, he was very close to winning the Indian Wells Tournament, beating Cameron Norrie out for a spot in the semifinals in three close sets. In the semifinals, Alcaraz played against the legend Rafael Nadal, and falling short in three sets scoring 4-6, 6-4, 3-6.

Yet, the loss did not faze Alcaraz. In fact, the teen achieved incredible results at the Madrid Open in 2022, which was almost two months after his loss at Indian Wells. In his quarterfinal match, he beat the legend himself: Nadal. He was the first teenager to ever beat Nadal on clay. The next day, he defeated Novak Djovokic, the top seed at the tournament. He became the first player to ever beat Djokovic and Nadal back to back on clay, at only 19 years old. In the finals, he played against Zverev, which Alcaraz won 6-3, 6-1. In winning the Masters 1000 tournament, he jumped to number six in Men’s Tennis Rankings.

Alcaraz continued to win, even at the US Open, which is arguably one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world. In his first three rounds, he beat his opponents in straight sets. In his fourth round match against Marin Čilić, the 15th seed, he won in a close five-set battle scoring 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, which lasted four hours. In his quarterfinal match, Carlos played yet another young talent, Yannik Sinner. Carlos won the first set 6-3, but dropped the next two sets 6-7(9), 6-7(0) and was on the verge of losing. Sinner had a match point in the fourth set, but Carlos fought back and eventually took the set 7-5. After a long five hours and fifteen minutes, the match ended shortly before 3:00 a.m., with Alcaraz winning the last set 6-3. Two days later, Carlos Alcaraz faced American player Frances Tiafoe for a spot in his first Grand Slam final. Alcaraz played another intense five set match against the American 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3. In his first grand slam final, Carlos faced the Norwegian tennis player Casper Ruud. Alcaraz led their head to head record 2-0. Alcaraz started the match strong winning the first set 6-4, but surprisingly dropped the second set 2-6. However, he persevered and dominated with his forehand, winning the next two sets 7-6(1) and 6-3. The grand slam final improved his ranking, earning the title: the new number one men’s tennis player in the world.


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