In 2022 we witness the definitive explosion of Carlos Alcaraz. The 19-year-old Spaniard proved that he is not just a promising youngster by winning the US Open and becoming the youngest No. 1 in the history of men’s tennis.
Although helped by some favorable circumstances, such as the repeated absences of Novak Djokovic and the serious injury of Alexander Zverev, the Iberian left everyone speechless with his style and charisma. In addition to winning his first Slam, Juan Carlos Ferrero’s protégé also put two Masters 1000 (Miami and Madrid) and two ATP 500 (Rio and Barcelona) on his record.
The Murcian took the honor of beating two sacred monsters like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic during the Mutua Madrid Open, proof of his immense talent. His performance dropped a bit in the latter part of the season, also due to knee pain.
An abdominal tear suffered in Bercy forced him to miss the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals. In the last edition of the podcast hosted by Craig Shapiro, former Ecuadorian player Nicolás Lapentti said that Nadal was not as strong as Alcaraz at 19 years of age.
“If we make a comparison between the current Carlos Alcaraz and the first Rafael Nadal, we realize that Alcaraz is better than that Rafa in various aspects. Carlos serves better than that Nadal and he is also more incisive from the bottom of the court.
Rafa didn’t have a very aggressive game in the early years of his career and he was poor at net. Over the years, he began to shorten the exchanges and got much better near the net. They move in much the same way, but from the service line Alcaraz is preferred over the old Nadal.
In a way, it can be said that Carlos Alcaraz is a better tennis player than the first Rafa”, analyzed Lapentti, who has a past as number 6 on the ATP.
Justine Henin comments on Nadal
On the set of Eurosport, Justine Henin designated the coronation of Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, following a legendary victory in the final against Daniil Medvedev (2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6–4, 7–5), as the most defining moment.
“The year has been dense but I would remember Nadal’s victory at the Australian Open. I had the chance to comment on this grand finale. It marked me because Rafa was coming back from very far, we didn’t know if he could play in Australia and then little by little, a magic worked.
His abnegation also marked me. He trailed by two sets and 0–40 on his serve in the third set. On the first point of the third set, we heard him shout ‘vamos!’ He was hanging on like it was 5-5 in the 5th set. I could never get tired of this attitude.
It was a real fight, a very emotional moment to see him win again in Melbourne. It was unexpected. We did not imagine Rafa taking us that way to Melbourne,” said the seven-time Grand Slam winner.
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