Rookie On Tour: Alcaraz Relives Milestone Moments

Spaniard is No. 35 in the FedEx ATP Rankings

It is hard to believe that #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz is only 18 years old given his standout performances and results over the past year.

Since making his tour-level debut in Rio de Janeiro in February 2020, aged just 16, Alcaraz has soared from outside the Top 400 in the FedEx ATP Rankings to a current career-high No. 35.

This season, the Spaniard’s aggressive baseline game has seen him record impressive results, with the 18-year-old qualifying for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, to be played from 9-13 November.

In June, Alcaraz become the youngest man to advance to the third round at Roland Garros since Andrei Medvedev in 1992, before he captured his maiden tour-level title in Umag in July. He then upset World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the quarter-finals at the US Open.

One crucial factor behind Alcaraz’s development has been his strong relationship with former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, whom has coached the Spaniard for the past three years.

On working with Alcaraz, Ferrero said: “He is working very hard in the past two years. At the beginning he was used to only playing once a day and then we started to put in more hard work and at the beginning he was confused that he had to work that hard! He is accepting all that I say, which is very nice.”

“He trains me with a lot of intensity,” Alcaraz added. “I have to train every day at 100 per cent. He teaches me how to train very well.”

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During their time together, Alcaraz has also won four ATP Challenger Tour trophies, with his first coming in August 2020. Just over a year later, the 18-year-old is a major threat to the those at the top of the game, signalled by his impressive victories over Top 10 players Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud.

These results have understandably fuelled Alcaraz with confidence, but he knows there is still work to be done, with consistency a key focus.

“The difference is the mentality,” Alcaraz said. “With the Top 10, they play every point with the same hits and those in the Top 100 miss more balls. I am ready to belong in this category. To [have] good results on the ATP [Tour] and at Grand Slams.”

Alcaraz will be making his debut at the 21-and-under event in Milan and he will hope it provides him with another important learning experience, with his long-term goal simple.

“I want to win a Grand Slam and become No. 1 in the World,” Alcaraz revealed.