Carlos Alcaraz Downplays Comparisons To Big Three, Pays Tribute To ‘Elegant’ Federer - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Carlos Alcaraz Downplays Comparisons To Big Three, Pays Tribute To ‘Elegant’ Federer

Published

on

Image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz has insisted that it makes no sense for him to be compared to the Big Three of tennis despite his meteoric rise in the sport this year. 

Last week the 19-year-old became the youngest world No.1 in ATP history after winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. Alcaraz is currently enjoying his breakthrough season where he has set a series of milestones, including winning two Masters 1000 events and securing back-to-back wins over Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament. He currently has a win-loss record of 52-10 and has won at least one set in every match he has played. 

Inevitably Alcaraz is being named by some pundits as the successor to the Big Three in the future. A trio featuring Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer who have won 63 Grand Slam titles between them. Some have even gone as far as comparing the Spaniard’s rise in tennis to that of the Big Three. Although Alcaraz argues that this should not be the case. 

“It’s not a pressure, I enjoy playing tennis and when I do it is when the results come. Many times I smile in tense moments in matches. Being on the court makes me enjoy myself,” Alcaraz told reporters during a trip to BMW Madrid on Monday.
“I don’t know why I’m getting compared to the Big Three. They have been there (on the Tour) for 20 years, they have won everything and I am starting. It does not make sense, I want to continue my way.’
“Comparing myself with the Big Three is that I have to improve day by day. They have been getting better day by day. That’s what I’m looking for.”

Shortly after his US Open triumph, Alcaraz returned to competitive tennis at the Davis Cup where he experienced mixed results. He lost to Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in what was his first match played as world No.1. A couple of days later he returned to winning ways by defeating Kwon Soon-woo to seal Spain’s place in November’s finals. 

Concerning his rapid rise in the sport, the youngster expects his peers to be more motivated than ever to beat him on the Tour. 

“I notice more confidence in myself, more sure in my shots,” Alcaraz replied when asked when has changed with him becoming world No.1. “My rivals, before they saw me as the young man who shot up and they felt the pressure of not wanting to lose and they played a little worse. Now they see me as a player who is there (at the top). They come in to play without pressure. I am No.1 and it motivates them because they have nothing to lose”.

Unlike many top names in the men’s game, Alcaraz will not be featuring in the upcoming Laver Cup to rest after what has been a frantic past few weeks on the Tour. The three-day event marks the end of an era with Federer confirming he will be playing the final match of his record-breaking career before retiring. 

“He’s pure talent, class and elegant. He’s lasted so long because of how he plays,” Alcaraz said of the Swiss maestro. 
“He hasn’t retired in any match and I’ve already retired in one. It’s a gift they’ve brought us all sports fans, not just tennis. I’m proud to have watched him throughout my childhood. I wish I could last as long as he has and earn a quarter of what he has earned. I can only thank him for what he has given to tennis. I’ve always wanted to face him, it won’t be possible, but it’s better than leaving with a defeat.”

Alcaraz is set to play his next tournament at the Astana Open which will take place during the first week of October. He is then scheduled to play events in Basel, Paris, the ATP Finals and Davis Cup Finals. 

ATP

Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

Published

on

Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

Published

on

Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

Published

on

Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

Continue Reading

Trending