Carlos Alcaraz: Playing Style
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia is one of the most exciting young talents to burst onto the ATP World Tour in recent years. He is a very aggressive baseliner that likes to hit powerful, heavy forehands and backhands that push his opponents back and open up the court. His forehand is a thing of beauty as he hits it with a straight, extended arm in the same way as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Technically speaking, Alcaraz is a very complete player. His raw talent is clear to see as he is able to cover the court like his idol the great Nadal, whilst hitting punishing forehands to finish points quickly. The young Spaniard is a very intense player. He brings a high level of focus to every point and turns up the aggression when he is under pressure. He puts a great deal of effort into his strokes, concentrating to generate as much power and as clean of a strike as possible. In his breakout performance against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2021 US Open, Alcaraz produced one of the most stunning displays of pure ball striking we have ever seen.
Not only was his performance against the world number 3 an incredible display of shot making, finding winners from anywhere in the court, it was also a great show of mental strength. Given that Alcaraz was just 18 years old and ranked 55 in the world, managing to beat Tsitispas, who had made the French Open final earlier that year was a huge upset. But, it was the way that Carlos managed to keep his composure, stay in the moment and maintain his focus on the next point and nothing else that was arguably the most impressive aspect of this win.
His footwork is also a massive asset to his game. Carlos is able to move almost as quickly as the lightning fast Alex De Minaur, but also possesses insane firepower, making him incredibly dangerous. He is accomplished at the net and has some great hand skills, despite the baseline being his natural habitat. His backhand is a solid shot that he can use to move his opponents around the court, but is less of a potent weapon than his blistering forehand. He is comfortable mixing up the play and using his slice to throw opponents off their rhythm and he can also neutralise points well with his knifing chips.
Carlos has a big serve, often hitting around the 125-130mph mark. He likes to stand back and take bigger swings at his returns, letting him build his way into points rather than going for a winner straight off the bat.
Overall his swings are all relatively compact, meaning he can change direction and use his opponent’s pace against them at a moment’s notice.
Alcaraz loves to build points with his forehand, using it to attack an opponent’s backhand and then pounce on any sub par shot he can get. He is particularly adept at using his inside out forehand to rush his opponents and push them into the tramlines, only to flatten out his inside in forehand to finish the point.
The way Alcaraz produces his forehand is also very effective, as he is able to disguise the direction well thanks to his large coiling motion. He uses a full unit turn which basically has his racket behind his back, making it difficult for an opponent to read where he will hit the ball. Carlos combines this with a straight arm on contact, which allows him to throw his racket far out in front of him and change the direction of the ball with a flick of his wrist at the very last moment. So, not only is Alcaraz’s forehand very powerful and used astutely, it is also difficult to predict, making it even more effective.
Carlos Alcaraz: Personal Bio
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia comes from El Palmar, Murcia Spain. He grew up on the Spanish clay and had a relatively short junior career compared to many of his contemporaries. Alcaraz won 2 titles on the ITF junior circuit and was ranked 22 in the world before he turned pro in 2018. He then went on to win 7 titles across the men’s ITF and Challenger circuits before making his main tour debut at the 2020 Rio Open.
Carlos is currently coached by Spanish tennis legend, former French Open champion and world number 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. In fact, Ferrero became French Open champion just a month after Alcaraz was born! In 2020 Alcaraz was named newcomer of the year, after jumping from just inside the world’s top 500 to 141. Carlos is an avid football fan and supports Real Madrid.
Carlos Alcaraz: What the Bros Say
Alcaraz’s ability to cover the court, sliding into the corners of the court and being strong enough to hit thumping ground strokes off both wings is something to behold. This is something that is not new, as we have seen the likes of Novak Djokovic do this for the past decade. However, Alcaraz manages to combine Rafa’s intensity and mental resilience, Novak’s incredible movement and Roger’s sublime shotmaking, making him one of the most exciting young prospects in men’s tennis. Okay sure, he has not hit the heights of the game yet and still has a lot of work to do in order to reach the top, but if he is able to keep up this level of progress over the next few years, he could certainly be a multiple grand slam champion.
Carlos is one of the most promising of the young crop of emerging talent in the world of men’s tennis. Not only has he got the flashes of brilliance to show his potential, but he has backed this up with 3 top 10 wins in his breakthrough season in 2021. He beat Tsitispas to reach the quarter finals of the US Open, as well as claiming wins over Berratini (world number 7 at the time) at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna and Jannik Sinner (ranked number 9 at the time) at the Rolex Paris Masters.
Carlos Alcaraz: How Far Can He Go?
It is always difficult to predict the future of any player, as injuries, form and even global events like the pandemic can get in the way! Some older players are having unexpected comebacks, whilst some young prospects can fall by the wayside for one reason or another.
Some of the younger players tagged NextGen by the ATP are having great results on the main tour. Jannik Sinner is now a firm member of the world’s top 10, whilst others like Lorenzo Musetti and Holger Rune are also showing great promise and claiming some big scalps.
However, Carlos Alcaraz has reached the world’s top 30 in a very short space of time and claimed the ATP Next Gen Finals, the Umag Open and the Rio Open in the past few months alone. He has a great deal of firepower and has the potential to go on and win multiple grand slams in his career. His game is explosive and he has a level of composure and grounding that makes it easy to believe he will go on to do great things in the game.
One of the major assets that Alcaraz possesses is his on court maturity. He is able to knuckle down and focus on the job in hand, one point at a time. This is something that Alcaraz’s idol Rafael Nadal is also very good at, and it is clear to see that the king of clay’s influence has rubbed off on the youngster.
It is difficult to look past the greats of the game in terms of who will go on to win grand slam titles in the next few years. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Danil Medvedev, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverez and Stephanos Tsitsipas all have great chances to win grand slams and are making it incredibly difficult for the next generation of young players to break through and get experience on the big stage. However, if there is one of the young crop that is likely to go on and become the next Spanish super star, it has got to be Carlos Alcaraz.
Carlos Alcaraz: Reasons to Support
There is a lot of hype surrounding Carlos Alcaraz and it seems to be justified. It is obviously very early in this young prospect’s career, but he is a player that shows heart, grit, determination and maturity well beyond his years. Alcaraz is a very passionate player that uses his emotions when he is pumped up to spur himself on, but does not show his frustrations often as he clearly sees this as a sign of weakness.
He is already becoming a role model for other young players, thanks to his great attitude and focused demeanour on court. He is easy to get behind as he puts 100% effort into each and every point, and his work ethic is something to behold.