“After Wimbledon at the latest, everyone looked closely. And yes, the young Spaniard also has weaknesses that the competition is trying to exploit. This is completely legitimate,” says the tennis legend. Boris Becker on the Eurosport Yellow Ball podcast.
The consequences of this can be seen in the results tables. Alcaraz lost to Tommy Paul (Toronto), Djokovic (Cincinnati), Daniil Medvedev (US Open), Jannik Sinner (Beijing), and Grigor Dimitrov (Shanghai). He hasn’t won a tournament since Wimbledon.
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It’s no surprise to Becker that the two-time Grand Slam champion can’t complete his massive workload without missing a beat. “Carlos is a little more physically frail than other 20- or 21-year-olds,” the 55-year-old said. Similar to his compatriot Rafael Nadal, this is down to his style of play. Alcaraz relies on “physical, body-conscious tennis. He’s not particularly tall, but he has amazing movement and tremendous power in his shot.”
Almagro: “This has never happened to Alcaraz before”
How does Alcaraz do it? “It comes from the thighs, from the striking arm. That’s why there are always minor problems,” Baker explains. The situation is not yet dire, but a more careful and economical use of material resources is “something that needs to be improved”.
One can assume that the team in the background around coach Juan Carlos Ferrero has long been working on developing a suitable strategy. A series of disappointments like this fall “has never happened to Alcaraz before and I am sure that he will not make such mistakes in certain tournaments in the next few years,” confirms the former Spanish top-10 professional. Nicolas Almagro in an interview with Eurosport.
If Alcaraz wants to achieve his ambitious goals, he cannot afford these mistakes. Young competitors like Jannik Sinner, Holger Röhn and Ben Shilton have great potential to make it happen – and the old classes around Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev can only be beaten if the overall package is right.
How many times does Alcaraz come to Mount Everest?
At the same time, Becker draws comparisons to mountain climbing to illustrate the challenges Alcaraz has to overcome. The three-time Wimbledon champion said: “It is possible to climb Mount Everest once, but doing it every year is the most difficult task.” Alcaraz moved from “hunter to hunted” thanks to his tremendous successes, “and therefore every match is the most important thing in the season for the opponent.”
Whether you can still win big matches and tournaments “has nothing to do with the forehand or the serve, but with the pressure that comes out of the blue,” Becker knows from his own experience. The example of Alcaraz clearly shows the amazing performances of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who dominated the tour without interruption for almost two decades.
Alcaraz is chasing Djokovic and is aiming to make his first Finals appearance
Alcaraz wants to go to the ATP Finals for the first time, which he was unable to play last year due to an abdominal muscle injury. He also confidently secured qualification for 2023. And with a good performance in Turin, perhaps he can achieve his second goal: the 20-year-old wants to once again overtake Djokovic for first place in the world rankings. If Alcaraz can score points before Torino, the chances will be good, after all, the Serbian has 1,500 points to defend his title last year.
The person who knows Alcaraz well is Alex Corretja. And from the former French Open champion’s point of view, there’s nothing to worry about anyway. After all, the Spaniard plays a lot more matches than Djokovic and therefore cannot always play at 100%. Poor results were noted in the Asian round Corretja at Eurosport Also no problem. The 49-year-old confirms that “Carlos is learning from all of this.”
Indeed: If you take the steep learning curve of super talent over the past two years as a standard, it would not be surprising if Alcaraz’s name appears behind the No. 1 in the standings at the end of the season.
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