US OPEN – The beginning of an era? For Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos Alcaraz “is 60% of what he can do”

US OPEN - The beginning of an era?  For Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos Alcaraz "is 60% of what he can do"

The way in which Carlos Alcaraz burst all possible and imaginable ceilings at the speed of lightning is still difficult to apprehend. When the 2022 season started, he was still only an ultra-gifted young player promised a brilliant future, but still close to the Top 30 in the rankings and whose record was still limited to a single title, in ATP 250. , in Umag. What we didn’t see coming was that this future would become its present in the space of a few months.

His goal this year was to win an… ATP 500. A mission accomplished in February in Rio de Janeiro. “We may have to aim higher a little sooner than expected“, then smiled his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero. Five weeks later, it was a Masters 1000 that fell into the hands of the prodigy from Murcia, in Miami. The floor above, inevitably, was a Grand Slam It only took him six more months to achieve it.

Miami and Ruud couldn’t resist him: highlights of Alcaraz’s victory in the final

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A major title… and magic points: the top 5 of the Alcaraz fortnight

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Once you become #1, it’s not ‘It’s over and you can go’

It was precisely during his title in Florida that Carlos Alcaraz convinced himself that the supreme objective was becoming realistic this year. He never hid it. Before Roland-Garros, he quietly assured: “I think I’m ready to win a Grand Slam.” There was no pretense or bluster there. Just a certainty. “Honestlyhe confirmed Sunday evening after his victorious final at the US Open against Casper Ruud, since Miami, I thought I had a Grand Slam in my hands. Before that, I told myself that I still needed to grow, that I was able to do a good result in a Grand Slam, but not to win it. But after Miami, it changed.”

Results of operations, the Alcaraz rocket took off to soar to the heights. A Grand Slam, two Masters 1000, five titles in total, victories against Nadal, Djokovic, Zverev, Tsitsipas, Ruud, don’t throw away any more. Add as a bonus the place of world number one and you will have a player who has satisfied in less than one season the dreams of a lifetime. The most dizzying thing in all of this is that he is still very far from having exploited his full potential.

To beat Ruud, Alcaraz fought against himself: Highlights of a historic final

This is in any case the opinion of Juan Carlos Ferrero. “Like I told him, I think he’s 60% of what he can doasserts the Spanish technician. It can improve many things. He knows, and I know we have to keep working. Once you become #1, it’s not ‘It’s over and you can go’. You have to keep working, keep playing at a high level in each tournament to keep winning. But he knows it. I will be behind him to remind him (smile).”

Ruud: “He’s one of those rare talents that pops up from time to time”

To see him play, to see him win, we actually sometimes forget that he is only 19 years old and that at this age, we remain by nature very perfectible. “It’s amazing what he’s accomplished at his age and sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s still a ‘teenager’, highlights its latest victim, Casper Ruud. He is one of those rare talents that pops up from time to time in the sport. We will see how his career will develop, but he is in the right direction. He deserves to have all these results.”

The 5 most beautiful points of the final: Alcaraz and Ruud, associated artists

Ruud is right, we will have to see how Carlos Alcaraz progresses or not in the months and years to come. Will his motivation suffer a slack? Will the sacred fire that seems to inhabit it fade away? There are always risks with extremely early champions. To cite just one example, when Boris Becker won his third Wimbledon at 21, everyone thought the German would go 5, 7 or 10. He never lifted the trophy on Center Court again.

For the time being, it is not there. “Of course it makes me hungry for moreensures the new world number one. I will be at the top for years, I hope. I will continue to work hard. I will fight for more.

So, is this the beginning of the “Alcaraz era?” “I do not know. I would love, slips Ferrero. For me, he was born to play this kind of tournaments (the Grand Slams, editor’s note). He likes to play them, he wants to win them. The other day I was saying in the press that Carlos and Sinner might be dominating the circuit for the next ten years. Of course, there are other players, like Zverev, Casper (Ruud), Tsitsipas who will be there and they will have opportunities to win Grand Slams. But with all due respect, that’s what I think.”

A match that will go down in history: the highlights of an exceptional Alcaraz-Sinner

From spaghetti to bulldozer

When asked about the career of Nadal, the last player to win a Major less than 20 years before him, Carlos Alcaraz smiles. “It has 22 titles, I have one“Juan Carlos Ferrero obviously doesn’t set such crazy goals for his protege. But he doesn’t close any doors.”My goal is to bring it to the highest possible level, he said. It will obviously be very, very difficult to accomplish what they (Nadal, Djokovic, Federer) have done. We are talking about 22 Grand Slam titles. Carlos has one. There is a way! But who knows? All we can do is try. I think he has the potential to be one of the best.”

This conviction, the former winner of Roland-Garros has always had. From his meeting with the little “Carlitos”. “Since I started with him, I’ve seen some things different from all the other guys his age, he explains. And I always see them on the court. In important moments, he always tries to take his chance. It’s one of the hardest things to do in tennis..”

It was a rough diamond, but to be polished. And to expand. Ferrero, again: “When he arrived at the Academy (Equilite Academy, near Alicante) at 15, he was already explosive but there was a lot of work. He had super arm and leg speed, but he had no muscles. It was spaghetti! But yeah, it was easy to see something special in him“The spaghetti has become a bulldozer. But the construction process is therefore still not complete. And if the analysis of the coach is correct and that Carlos Alcaraz is only at the sketch of his potential, there is is enough to thrill the competition, present or future.

Carlos Alcaraz

Credit: Imago

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