With the official retirement of one of the greatest sportspeople of our time, coinciding with the arrival of grand slam success of young Carlos Alcaraz, I thought I’d take a look at all the elements in the young Spaniard’s game that have seen him separate himself from his peers.
Many are predicting Nadal, Djokovic and Federer-type numbers by the end of his career.
Speaking of the three greatest male tennis players we have seen, incredibly all in the one era, there are components of all three of them in Alcaraz’s game.
The most obvious comparison is that of his fellow Spaniard Nadal.
Not only do they hail from the same country, you can see Alcaraz has that fighting spirit quality in his game. The way he never gives up on a point and give’s his all out on the court.
Powerful baseline strokes especially on the forehand with the heavy topspin are another element of the Nadal game that has been mirrored in the younger Spaniard. Alcaraz’s speed around the court is a trait we saw from Nadal in his younger years.
The comparisons are not only visual but statistical, with Nadal winning his first major at 19 years old and 3 days and Alcaraz winning his first major, the recent US Open title at 19 years and 129 days.
The Roger Federer elements that are noticeable in Alcaraz's game are his assertive and aggressive game style. The will to come to the net to finish points with class and grace are a reminder of the elegant swiss master. Alcaraz himself has said that he sees his game more like Federer’s than Nadal’s.
Then we come to the third member of the big three comparisons in Novak Djokovic. The side-to-side movement of Alcaraz and rigour from the back of the court can easily see you visualise Djokovic’s stoic and relentless defence. Alcaraz’s flatter shots off the backhand side, especially the backhand down the line can remind you of Djokovic and his most famous shot.
Alcaraz’s versatility in his game style and the way he can adapt to his opponent's game, along with a tough mentality is something we can see that he shares with the three greatest male tennis players we have seen.
It can be dangerous to compare a young player at the start of his career to the big three, it is also very hard not to, with what we can see from Alcaraz already.
Alcaraz has won six titles this season including two Masters 1000's (Miami & Madrid) and of course the most recent Major the US Open. Becoming the youngest ever male number one we can already see he shares the unbelievable winning ways of the big three.
Alcaraz is of course his own man, with his career to forge, but from my vantage point, he seems the perfect mix of the big three which is frightening for his peers and going to be incredible to watch for all tennis fans and sports fans in general.