Carlos Alcaraz from Lowly Murcia to World No. 1

2023-02-14 News

Marking a dynasty in a sport is a thing only a few can boast of, and passing on this supremacy to another is one thing many top athletes have failed to achieve.

Roger Federer made a home for himself on the grass court but was unsuccessful at passing his artistry to any Swiss youngster, but the story may just appear a little different for Rafael Nadal and Spanish tennis as a whole.

  Over time despite the wave of successes Rafael Nadal brought through the sport of tennis to Spain, the future of Spanish tennis appeared to be gloomy – with Rafael Nadal beyond his best years and the likes of David Ferrer retiring in 2019.

Paulo Carreno Busta who was tipped by many to hit the heights of tennis appeared to be just like every other talent that came off the coast of the Southwestern European nation – failing to hit the high standards set by 22-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal. It has to be said that many have come close and many gets dubbed the next big thing in tennis, but sadly none has hit the heights set by the amazing trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic.

Milos Raonic in 2015, Alexandre Zverev and Stefano Tsitsipas both in 2019, Dominic Thiem, and a host of others were tipped to mark an era but sadly none has lived up to this billing.

But a twist to this tale of doom and gloom may just be what’s on the card.


Rodger Federer won his first grand slam in 2003 a lot of celebrations and positive predictions followed his win at Wimbledon, but only a few had the idea that a future tennis star had been born two months earlier – a young Carlos Alcaraz was born in El Palmar near Murcia in Spain to the family of former tennis star Carlos Alcaraz González.

The journey into tennis began when four-year-old Carlos was introduced to the sport by his father. The then mentor — his father, was amongst the few who believed his lad will be good enough to go professional and of a truth, a grand slam win at that point was a discussion far-fetched.

He started playing tennis at the Real Sociedad Club de Campo de Murcia where his father was the tennis academy director, his talent was spotted at age 11 by his now agent Albert Molina and a switch to Juan Ferrero's Equelite “JC Ferrero Sports Academy”, in 2018, marked a new beginning for the lowly boy from El Palmar.


Upon joining the JC Ferrero academy, Alcaraz was coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former world No 1 and 2003 Roland-Garros champion. This partnership appeared to be a match made in heaven for Carlos, as what followed was a series of sheer dominance from the then 15-year-old. So good he was that he already racked up three ATP Challenger titles, hence joining an elite company of players, such as Novak Djokovic, Richard Gasquet, and Felix Auger Aliassime, who had done it before him. It was at this point the media hype for the youngster began. He was second to none. It’s best proven by the fact that the next tennis player at his age is ranked only No. 550 in the world!

In February 2020, upon receiving a wildcard from the singles main draw, 16-year-old, Alcaraz made his ATP main-draw debut at the Rio Open, after winning two ITF tournaments. There in Brazil, he defeated Albert Ramos Viñolas, earning his first victory on the main circuit. He appeared to have the wind in his sail until he was ultimately defeated in the second round by Federico Coria. But this defeat did only awaken the BULL in the young Spaniard, as what followed was a series of record-breaking victories.


The pandemic of 2020, which deterred a lot of athletes’ development, had little effect on the 17-year-old. He made the best use of this time to improve his tennis skills and once regular matches started taking place again, his dominance on the courts began. The 17-year-old won three tournaments of the ATP Challenger Tour between August and October – in Trieste, Barcelona, and Alicante. These achievements helped him significantly advance in the ATP rankings. At the beginning of the season, he was ranked No. 490 and since then he’s reached No. 136. He is successfully closing the gap between him and the ranking leaders.

Alcaraz followed his success with six ATP singles titles between 2021 and September 2022. With the first being at Umag on July 25, 2021. The Spaniard became the youngest player to win an ATP title on tour since 2008 when Kei Nishikori won the title at Delray Beach. He also became the youngest title winner in Umag history and the third-youngest ATP title winner since 2000.

Alcaraz’s prodigious talent on the court became obvious when he outclassed both Nadal and Djokovic at the Madrid open. It came as a surprise to only a few when he won the US Open hence becoming the youngest US Open champion since Pete Sampras in 1990. A stand-out match that did show the quality of the Spaniard was the game against Casper Ruud in the US Open men's singles final was his 51st tour-level win of the season - the most by any player this season.

As for overturning the regime that has ruled men’s tennis for the last two decades, Alcaraz was reluctant to cast himself as a revolutionary heralding a new era.

Talking to CNN sport, he said; “I’m a lucky guy to learn from these guys [Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic] so close – to share a locker room, to share courts,” he said. “I hope to watch them for many years.”

For a player who has fared better in his first 100 games compared to the legendary trio of Roger Federer, Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, it is hard to look past the youngster as the next era-defining talent in the tennis world.















Regardless of how many records these men have, the tennis world could be about to witness the first genuine challenge to the established order in men’s tennis for a long time.

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