Just 19, Carlos Alcaraz, tennis' next big thing, plays like Federer, has won more than $5 million, and has the French Open title in his sights

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·5 min read
Just 19, Carlos Alcaraz, tennis' next big thing, plays like Federer, has won more than $5 million, and has the French Open title in his sights
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Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates after winning match point in their Men's Singles semi-finals match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day ten of Mutua Madrid Open at La Caja Magica
Carlos Alcaraz.Getty/Denis Doyle
  • Carlos Alcaraz is tennis' next big superstar.

  • The teenager has already won four titles this year and now has his eyes on the French Open.

  • "I want to win it," he said. "And I am ready for it."

Carlos Alcaraz may only be 19 years old, but he's already taking the world of tennis by storm.

The Spaniard, currently ranked sixth in the world, already has five singles titles under his belt – four of which have come this year.

The teenager first won the Rio Open in February before claiming both the Miami and Barcelona Opens in April. In May, he won in Madrid, where he beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in consecutive games en route to the final.

"He is incredibly talented and capable of great things, no doubt about that," tennis legend John McEnroe told El País of Alcaraz earlier this year.

"I think he's going to win a lot of big titles."

Here's everything you need to know about tennis' next superstar.

Alcaraz was born and raised in a tiny village in Spain.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain looks on during his Mens round of 32 match against Rio Noguchi of Japan on day two of the ATP Sevilla Chalenger at Real Club Tenis Betis
Alcaraz's father was himself a tennis player.Getty/Quality Sport Images

Alcaraz was born on May 5, 2003 in El Palmar, Murcia — a small village on Spain's southeast coast — to parents Carlos and Virginia.

He has three siblings: Alvaro, Sergio, and Jaime.

According to Tennis Majors, he began playing tennis at age four, influenced by his father, who himself was an avid player and once ranked in Spain's Top 40.

He turned professional aged just 15.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain with coach Juan Carlos Ferrero during training on Court Philippe Chatrier in preparation for the 2022 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros
Alcaraz and Ferrero.Getty/Tim Clayton

Shortly after turning professional in 2018, Alcaraz's fellow Spaniard, the former World No. 1 and 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero agreed to become his coach.

Ferrero, who remains Alcaraz's coach today, described the youngster to ESPN earlier this month as a "prodigious talent," adding that working with him has been a "great opportunity."

 

Alcaraz won his first title last year.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates a point during his second round match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day seven of the Mutua Madrid Open
Alcaraz is tennis' next superstar.Getty/Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

The Spaniard, then 18, won the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in July 2021 by beating veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the final.

The win saw him become the the youngest male Tour-level champion since Japan's Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach Open in 2008, also at 18, as well as the youngest Spaniard to win an ATP Tour title since Nadal in 2004.

Later in the year, Alcaraz recorded the biggest victory of his fledgling career when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was then ranked third in the world, in the third round of the US Open.

He went on to reach the tournament's quarterfinals, in turn becoming the youngest male player of the Open Era to ever do so.

Since, he's continued to smash records for fun.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain raises the Butch Buchholz Trophy after defeating Casper Ruud of Norway in the Men's Singles final during the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium
Alcaraz with the Butch Buchholz Trophy after winning the Miami Open.Getty/Michael Reaves

Alcaraz's triumph at April's Miami Open not only saw him become the tournament's youngest ever winner, but he also set another milestone that went under the radar.

In beating Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals, he earned his 50th Tour-level win.

With only 20 career losses at the time, it meant Alcaraz boasted a better win percentage than any former male world No. 1 at the same benchmark.

For example, when Djokovic won his 50th Tour-level match, he had lost 29, while Federer had lost 47, and Nadal had lost 31.

And he's won more than $5 million in the process.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates match point against Casper Ruud of Norway in the Men's Singles final during the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium
Safe to say Alcaraz is doing well for himself.Getty/Michael Reaves

According to the ATP Tour website, Alcaraz has already racked up a whopping $5.45 million in career prize money from both singles and doubles tournaments.

Alcaraz is often compared to Nadal.

Mutua Madrid Open Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal during the Mutua Madrid Open
Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal.Getty/David Bustamante

Because of their shared heritage, as well as the fact that four of Alcaraz's five career titles so far have come on clay, he often gets compared to Nadal.

Coach Ferrero, however, thinks the teen actually plays more like Djokovic and Roger Federer.

"He likes to be very aggressive all the time. He likes to play close to the baseline. He's not the typical player who only plays on clay courts. He likes to play on hard courts and he loves to play on grass," Ferrero told ATP Tour of Alcaraz in late 2020. 

"If I have to say someone that I can compare him to, it's the game of Novak Djokovic or maybe Roger Federer. They like to be aggressive from the baseline, and they can go to the net to finish the point."

Alcaraz himself has admitted to modeling parts of his game on Federer by "trying to be aggressive all the time."

 

He's now got his eyes on his first Grand Slam title.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during the Men's Singles First Round match against Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina on Day 1 of The 2022 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France
Alcaraz says he can win the French Open.Getty/Tnani Badreddine

Currently playing in the French Open, Alcaraz stormed to a straight sets victory in the first round over Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero and next plays veteran compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Speaking after his first round win over Londero, Alcaraz told reporters that he believes he can win the tournament.

"People are going to think that I'm one of the favorites to win Roland Garros. I don't have it as tension, I have it as a motivation," he said.

"Of course I want to win it. And I am ready for it."

Read the original article on Insider