It’s hard to believe that the newly crowned Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz is barely three months out of his teenage years.
The Spanish whiz-kid, who smacks tennis balls at a velocity only very few can, is on his way to fulfilling the childhood dreams of just about anyone who’s ever picked up a racket.
Novak Djokovic was on a win streak of 102 matches after having won the opening set but that didn’t stop Alcaraz from blasting past his own nervous energy and his Serbian opponent once he got into top gear.
Djokovic couldn’t have been more complimentary with his remarks after the defeat, explaining that he hasn’t “played a player like him” when describing the now two-time major champion.
“I think people have been talking in the past 12 months or so about [Alcaraz’s] game consisting of certain elements from Roger, Rafa, and myself. I would agree with that. I think
he's got basically best of all three worlds,” Djokovic said.
Sure, we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and start making all sorts of predictions as to what dizzy heights Alcaraz will reach but you can’t help but ponder the possibilities when you consider where the giants of the past were at the same stage of their careers.
At the exact same age, Djokovic had just reached his first major semi-final at Roland Garros and quickly followed that up with another final-four appearance at Wimbledon.
He didn’t need to wait too much longer to capture the first of his 23 majors, saluting at Melbourne Park in 2008 to open what would become a now record-breaking account.
From the moment Alcaraz stepped onto the big stage there were obvious comparisons drawn with fellow Spaniard, Rafael Nadal.
Nadal become the first teenager to win a Grand Slam title since Pete Sampras at the 1990 US Open, when he completed a ridiculous season on the clay by taking out the 2005 French Open.
He backed it up the following year and similarly to Alcaraz had two majors next to his name as he graduated out of his teenage years.
Nadal fell short of a third major just weeks into his 21st lap around the sun when he succumbed to Roger Federer in the final of Wimbledon.
Federer had made just the two Grand Slam quarter-final appearances around the same point in his career, before notching the first of eight Wimbledon crowns when he was 21-years-old in 2003.
Alcaraz is only at base camp when it comes to scaling the achievements, particularly at major level, that the three men highlighted above have achieved throughout their careers.
The scary thing about Alcaraz though is what he could achieve in the next few years alone.
He’s already become the youngest world number 1 in history and won a Grand Slam on two different surfaces.
Unless Nadal can miraculously recover for one more tilt at a French Open, it’s only Djokovic who remains from that trio as a Slam threat.
Sure, there’s a new wave of talent coming through in the men’s game which will only grow in the years to come but right now Alcaraz is in a league of his own, scarily with more improvement to come.
We’ve spent years contemplating and debating who is the greatest player of all time and although one player (Djokovic) stands alone now with the most Slam titles, it’s a conversation which can never be truly stamped. After all, it’s just an opinion.
As outlined earlier, we don’t want to get too carried away with where the Alcaraz story may take us but you get the feeling over the next 15 years there’ll be a few pub debates which focus on the young kid from the village of El Palmar.