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Carlos Alcaraz, rising tennis star but how far?

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  • Carlos Alcaraz, rising tennis star but how far?

    Being in Spain and reading El Pais, I have gotten a lot more coverage of Spanish athletes. I ran across an article on Carlos Alcaraz. He seems to have it all. Still a bit deep in the court and playing classic clay court tennis But he has wheels and the big forehand that seems to be the key to winning these days. He played an opponent who has seen better days in the final. But still his movement looks great and he actually likes to volley and does it well.

    He is coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero at a smallish academy he has.

    https://youtu.be/XHjRbvo6OCM

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    We have talked about him in another thread somewhere. He looks like a guy that is going to win more than one FO to me, at the very least.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by stroke View Post
      We have talked about him in another thread somewhere. He looks like a guy that is going to win more than one FO to me, at the very least.
      Funny, how you can tell so much just from catching a glimpse of his highlights. Yes, definitely the heir apparent at RG. The explosiveness of his movement and ball striking is what stands out. He can move and his strokes have pop.

      My daughter was asking me the other day why these skinny wirey guys can hit so hard. I told her their bodies are like a natural whip.

      Alcaraz looks to me to have that natural elasticity that makes a great player. He also seems more level headed than Shapo.

      Comment


      • #4
        I saw that Carlos had a heavily wrapped right hitting arm, what injury does he have and what caused it?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
          Being in Spain and reading El Pais, I have gotten a lot more coverage of Spanish athletes. I ran across an article on Carlos Alcaraz. He seems to have it all. Still a bit deep in the court and playing classic clay court tennis But he has wheels and the big forehand that seems to be the key to winning these days. He played an opponent who has seen better days in the final. But still his movement looks great and he actually likes to volley and does it well.

          He is coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero at a smallish academy he has.

          https://youtu.be/XHjRbvo6OCM

          Any thoughts?

          February 18, 2020

          Originally posted by don_budge View Post
          A seismic tremor down in Rio de Janeiro...a sixteen year old ranked #406 defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas who is ranked #41. This is news. Suddenly this young player is on the Tennisplayer.net radar. This is his first win in an ATP tournament. He next plays Federico Coria who is ranked #116. Let's see how this tournament pans out for the young Carlos Alcaraz.

          Dominic Thiem is the top seed in a draw mostly headlined by clay court specialists.

          https://www.atptour.com/en/scores/cu...chtype=singles
          Originally posted by don_budge View Post
          Carlos Alcaraz, currently ranked #406, gave it a go against a tough ten year veteran of the tour Federico Coria (ranked #106) losing in three sets...6-4, 4-6, 6-4. At 16 years old this might be the one to watch. He sees his game more like Roger Federer's than anyone else. More Living Proof? Too bad about the two handed backhand.
          Back in February of 2020 Carlos scored his first ATP win, which didn't go unnoticed by me. Now he has won his first ATP title a year and a half later. He is now 18 years old and won't be 19 until May of next year. I believe that this one is different from the current group of wannabes such as Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and on and on. He has a bit more sizzle on the forehand and the serves, while not perfect, shows signs of improvement. Now instead of a number of kinks in his motion he has it down to one. It's doable. I wrote this not so long ago. It was around his birthday this year as a matter of fact.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhdl...5FFD0FB0D1DC25

          Originally posted by don_budge View Post
          Very clever to include "Who's Next" in my previous post...don't you think so? The draw sheet! Look at the draw sheet! The first two rounds running true to form. Mere foreplay and separating the chaff from the wheat. But what a great rock album. Nobody here remembers "The Who". Who? They think you are referring to the World Health Organisation. You know. That fake organisation that pretends to be concerned with all of our collective health. No...the real who's next is in the draw sheet. All of this jockeying for position. Now it begins. The serious stuff and serious as a heart attack it is. There is of course Rafael Nadal and let me just take a moment to take a couple of vicious swipes at this idiot. I don't say that lightly. I watched him yesterday in the runway before he was to take the court with young Carlos Alcaraz. This uncouth you know what was jumping up and down right in front of the young man. Then he starts his sprinting and his hopping up and down. There is absolutely nothing redeemable in this sick individual. He did everything he needed to do to intimidate this nice young fellow on his eighteenth birthday. Then on the court it is the usual antics and obsessive/compulsive behaviour that is designed to nauseate the opponent. There is no coincidence here. The most unsportsmanlike player ever. In your face...and some of you just lap it up. Good for you!

          What I got yesterday was a good look at young Carlos Alcaraz whom I introduced to the forum some years ago. Who's next? Is it Carlos? After his performance yesterday it is totally inconclusive but there is one thing that glared at me and it just so happens to go along with some of the discussion here lately. You know the one...about less than perfect service motions. Somebody save this kid before it is too late. He has two totally separate hesitations in his motion that are going to play havoc with his rhythm and tempo for his entire career. Yesterday it was glaring as he was a total victim to the Nadal psy-op. Nadal had him so psyched out he couldn't hit a routine serve, forehand or backhand. Never mind volleys. It never occurred to him to get to the net. Another one dimensional prodigy. No plan B. Just hard and harder. We'll see. The jury is still out obviously. He is going to improve and he is going to climb the rankings just as Jannik Sinner did. Some were predicting such greatness for Sinner. "The Greatest of All Time" was even mentioned. I'm a bit more reserved. Reluctant even. Skeptical. I'm a skeptic. Wait and see. "Who's Next" anyone? Such a great rock album. But the GOAT? "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss".
          So "The Kid" is growing up. He is maturing. I watched him against Richard Gasquet in the finals this past weekend and he really took it to Monsieur Gasquet in a way that was reminiscent of Roger Federer's shellacking of Richard at Wimbledon. Gasquet had fewer answers to Carlos than he did to Roger. He couldn't match Alcaraz's energy or mobility. So the interesting red thread in my few comments about him to this point is one of development. He has made some really healthy, progressive steps. The setback against Nadal was no more harmful than any other routine loss he has faced to this point. Nadal didn't traumatise him. If anything it inspired him. I would say that if you look at the rest of the field of the ATP at the present moment the sky is the limit for young Carlos Alcaraz. He is aggressive and he is starting to show some consistency in his performance levels. I am watching him as I type this playing the first round in Austria after his big win over the weekend. He doesn't appear to be as sharp, which is understandable. But he is competing and he doesn't look like he has thrown in the towel.

          The big hurdle that Carlos is going to have to clear is the idea on the tour now that this young fellow is a big win if a player can bag him. With his meteoric ascent, he is currently ranked #55, the target on his back gets bigger and the big, bad cats out there want to take him down a notch. But at eighteen he already looks like he is ready to man up to most of the tour. You can sort of see what another two years will do for his physique at this point. He is going to really fill out and be an impressive physical specimen. I think he is going places. I would say that the sky is the limit. Who's next? It might just be Carlos.


          don_budge
          Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by don_budge View Post


            February 18, 2020





            Back in February of 2020 Carlos scored his first ATP win, which didn't go unnoticed by me. Now he has won his first ATP title a year and a half later. He is now 18 years old and won't be 19 until May of next year. I believe that this one is different from the current group of wannabes such as Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and on and on. He has a bit more sizzle on the forehand and the serves, while not perfect, shows signs of improvement. Now instead of a number of kinks in his motion he has it down to one. It's doable. I wrote this not so long ago. It was around his birthday this year as a matter of fact.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhdl...5FFD0FB0D1DC25



            So "The Kid" is growing up. He is maturing. I watched him against Richard Gasquet in the finals this past weekend and he really took it to Monsieur Gasquet in a way that was reminiscent of Roger Federer's shellacking of Richard at Wimbledon. Gasquet had fewer answers to Carlos than he did to Roger. He couldn't match Alcaraz's energy or mobility. So the interesting red thread in my few comments about him to this point is one of development. He has made some really healthy, progressive steps. The setback against Nadal was no more harmful than any other routine loss he has faced to this point. Nadal didn't traumatise him. If anything it inspired him. I would say that if you look at the rest of the field of the ATP at the present moment the sky is the limit for young Carlos Alcaraz. He is aggressive and he is starting to show some consistency in his performance levels. I am watching him as I type this playing the first round in Austria after his big win over the weekend. He doesn't appear to be as sharp, which is understandable. But he is competing and he doesn't look like he has thrown in the towel.

            The big hurdle that Carlos is going to have to clear is the idea on the tour now that this young fellow is a big win if a player can bag him. With his meteoric ascent, he is currently ranked #55, the target on his back gets bigger and the big, bad cats out there want to take him down a notch. But at eighteen he already looks like he is ready to man up to most of the tour. You can sort of see what another two years will do for his physique at this point. He is going to really fill out and be an impressive physical specimen. I think he is going places. I would say that the sky is the limit. Who's next? It might just be Carlos.

            Like I said...it's too bad about that two hand backhand.
            don_budge
            Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post
              Being in Spain and reading El Pais, I have gotten a lot more coverage of Spanish athletes. I ran across an article on Carlos Alcaraz. He seems to have it all. Still a bit deep in the court and playing classic clay court tennis But he has wheels and the big forehand that seems to be the key to winning these days. He played an opponent who has seen better days in the final. But still his movement looks great and he actually likes to volley and does it well.

              He is coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero at a smallish academy he has.

              https://youtu.be/XHjRbvo6OCM

              Any thoughts?
              Speaking of Carlos Alcaraz...here is an interesting point that is actually live right now. He lost the first set in the tourney in Austria to a player who is ranked 250 something in the world 7-5, but then he comes back and just pummels him 6-1. This is the kind of tough nosed attitude it takes to claw your way to the top. It is a long ass haul and it takes a lot of qualities that add up to bad ass. So Alcaraz is a work in progress and so much of it will hinge on his serve. I would love to spend some time with him talking about the importance of a frictionless, effortless howitzer of a serve with precise, intelligent tactics. I don't care for the sleeveless shirt look. Somehow he doesn't have that stupid look on his face that Denis Shapovalov does.
              don_budge
              Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by don_budge View Post

                Speaking of Carlos Alcaraz...here is an interesting point that is actually live right now. He lost the first set in the tourney in Austria to a player who is ranked 250 something in the world 7-5, but then he comes back and just pummels him 6-1. This is the kind of tough nosed attitude it takes to claw your way to the top. It is a long ass haul and it takes a lot of qualities that add up to bad ass. So Alcaraz is a work in progress and so much of it will hinge on his serve. I would love to spend some time with him talking about the importance of a frictionless, effortless howitzer of a serve with precise, intelligent tactics. I don't care for the sleeveless shirt look. Somehow he doesn't have that stupid look on his face that Denis Shapovalov does.
                Being in Spain it is hard to not think about why it is such a powerhouse in tennis while the US lags behind.

                In this system, there are lots of kids like Alcaraz from small towns with not a lot of money who manage to get excellent training.

                The local high end country club has no initiation fee and will allow me to join for 35 Euros a month for three months. For this I get discounted rates on hourly court rentals and access to the full club. I played a guy who moved here from LA with his wife and in-laws. We both wondered what the cost of a country club would be in our respective cities back in the US.

                Take a look at the pictures and tell me that anyone besides a venture capitalist or very wealthy person could play at a club like this in the US.

                https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dppc1NaW...name=4096x4096

                It comes down to culture and priorities. Every place has a different history, geography and ethos. All I can say is that being in Spain you can understand why they are so good. They don't back down from intense practice. My daughter says she feels muscles she did not know existed. And the coaches will yell out during drills "Eras una bestia" You are beast when they are hitting very well. The coaching culture pushes the kids to work without making them feel lower in the totem pole. Everyone works hard whether you are a college player, a future pro player or will choose to pursue a different career.

                On thursday, my daughter will go to a cafe near the courts and have lunch with some of the girls. You can see everyone out sitting at cafes all day long just talking. Hardly, a cellphone in sight. The running joke is that no wonder they live longer. The stress level is lower. Why kill yourself to do today, what you can put off and do tomorrow while having a bite to eat or just relaxing in between.

                As I said it's cultural.

                Back to Alcaraz. Great call on him! Great explosiveness. Maybe one weakness in the Spanish system is that there are not as many throwing sports. This might give Americans a slight edge. But eventually with enough practice, these weaknesses are cleaned up.

                He has a great slice and volley. Could have easily played with one hand if he wanted to. Unfortunately, with tennis promise needing to be identified at age 10-12 not many people are willing to switch to one hand.

                The other day my daughter was doing the famous Spanish backup to handle high balls drill. Being a one hander she decided to just avoid backing up alltogether and just hit on the rise.

                The coach yelled out "Eso no es tenis!" "That's not tennis!" They still preach backing up to receive hight balls. You don't fight fire with fire. You absorb power and redirect it. Kind of like Aikido in martial arts where you never attack an opponent.

                Alcaraz is the product of a country that has producing very good players at all levels down pat.

                As I said it's cultural.
                Last edited by arturohernandez; 07-28-2021, 01:08 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by arturohernandez View Post

                  Being in Spain it is hard to not think about why it is such a powerhouse in tennis while the US lags behind.

                  In this system, there are lots of kids like Alcaraz from small towns with not a lot of money who manage to get excellent training.

                  The local high end country club has no initiation fee and will allow me to join for 35 Euros a month for three months. For this I get discounted rates on hourly court rentals and access to the full club. I played a guy who moved here from LA with his wife and in-laws. We both wondered what the cost of a country club would be in our respective cities back in the US.

                  Take a look at the pictures and tell me that anyone besides a venture capitalist or very wealthy person could play at a club like this in the US.

                  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dppc1NaW...name=4096x4096

                  It comes down to culture and priorities. Every place has a different history, geography and ethos. All I can say is that being in Spain you can understand why they are so good. They don't back down from intense practice. My daughter says she feels muscles she did not know existed. And the coaches will yell out during drills "Eras una bestia" You are beast when they are hitting very well. The coaching culture pushes the kids to work without making them feel lower in the totem pole. Everyone works hard whether you are a college player, a future pro player or will choose to pursue a different career.

                  On thursday, my daughter will go to a cafe near the courts and have lunch with some of the girls. You can see everyone out sitting at cafes all day long just talking. Hardly, a cellphone in sight. The running joke is that no wonder they live longer. The stress level is lower. Why kill yourself to do today, what you can put off and do tomorrow while having a bite to eat or just relaxing in between.

                  As I said it's cultural.

                  Back to Alcaraz. Great call on him! Great explosiveness. Maybe one weakness in the Spanish system is that there are not as many throwing sports. This might give Americans a slight edge. But eventually with enough practice, these weaknesses are cleaned up.

                  He has a great slice and volley. Could have easily played with one hand if he wanted to. Unfortunately, with tennis promise needing to be identified at age 10-12 not many people are willing to switch to one hand.

                  The other day my daughter was doing the famous Spanish backup to handle high balls drill. Being a one hander she decided to just avoid backing up alltogether and just hit on the rise.

                  The coach yelled out "Eso no es tenis!" "That's not tennis!" They still preach backing up to receive hight balls. You don't fight fire with fire. You absorb power and redirect it. Kind of like Aikido in martial arts where you never attack an opponent.

                  Alcaraz is the product of a country that has producing very good players at all levels down pat.

                  As I said it's cultural.
                  Yeah...seeing as my last name is Navarro, I can relate. Love the feel of that culture. Just look at that club. 39€ is a steal. I belong to two golf clubs. One of them I paid the membership last year and got this year for free as part of a COVID giveaway. I've played 70 rounds so far...for free. The other club has association agreements with other clubs so I have a third club I can play at anytime for free. The yearly membership for a club is around 700-800 dollars and that is it. I joke that you would kill for that kind of membership in America.

                  Alcaraz ended up losing yesterday. A bit of a letdown after his first ATP tournament win. All part of the learning curve. At eighteen years old he looks fo have it all over the rest of the ATP futures. Your daughter has a mind of her own. If she wants to move in...move in. Learn to take it both ways. What a great way to spend the summer!!! That's my life!!!
                  don_budge
                  Performance Analysthttps://www.tennisplayer.net/bulleti...ilies/cool.png

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Arturo: Do you heave any thoughts about clay footwork as taught by the Spaniards or does it just come naturally as a result of hours of practice? A pro once told me that he loosened his shoestrings a little to transition the first few days from hard court to clay to learn the subtle tiptoe, first step pushoff and balance on the slide. Carlos’ fast steps never seem to slip and his slide is fantastic!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by doctorhl View Post
                      Arturo: Do you heave any thoughts about clay footwork as taught by the Spaniards or does it just come naturally as a result of hours of practice? A pro once told me that he loosened his shoestrings a little to transition the first few days from hard court to clay to learn the subtle tiptoe, first step pushoff and balance on the slide. Carlos’ fast steps never seem to slip and his slide is fantastic!
                      I don't think it comes entirely naturally. There is a lot of footwork practice. I found this short video in Spanish on Alcaraz. You can see that him practicing on a volleyball court without a ball. He also practices on what looks like a dirt road with a ball on a stand. HIs physical trainer is talking about some of his soft spots in terms of movement and how they are working on it. It's in Spanish but you can see some of the drills.

                      https://youtu.be/Brx9vbGIzwg?t=92

                      Personally, my feet are narrow and so I don't slide that much on clay or hard courts. I played on clay a couple of weeks ago and on hard courts yesterday.

                      The way I see it, you have to factor in recovery on a clay court because changing directions is harder. So I would rather hop on the court more and jump if necessary. This makes it easier for me to hit and recover.

                      Loose shoes might help but it is the soft feet that is the key.

                      I also tend to play farther back and add more topspin. Taking the ball on the rise is much harder than on a hard court.

                      To me it all goes into a slower rhythm of play. Everything changes along with movement. You also have to accept that there are times when you try to get back to the ball and will not be able to. So the focus on reading the player more and anticipating. You also have to know that when you hit it in one place the ball will come back to another spot. On a hard court, I might try and go for a winner down the line. On clay, I might play it cross court and deep knowing that I can get to the next shot.

                      If I do go down the line, I have to factor in that I can cover the ball cross court and counter attack. I used to just attack like crazy and would get beat up very badly. I got passed so many times on clay in the past that I had to adapt.

                      Once I accepted a different way of playing, everything changed.

                      They definitely learn through experience but there is training on sliding and movement that is different from hard court training.

                      Hope that answers your questions!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wrote a short article a few years ago. It still seems pretty relevant except that I can no longer find shoes with little cleat like bottoms anymore.

                        https://www.tennismindgame.com/clay-court.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Great article. Any thoughts about learning to hit behind the opponent on clay, especially if one is a hard court, flat hitter playing a little closer to the baseline? It takes a little adjustment to slightly delay the stroke, but if you can wrong foot the opponent and make them respect that shot, then they will not be able to lean heavily toward the open court in anticipation. I don’t know if this stroke is relevant for the higher level player who stands further behind the baseline with a more open stance when hitting the ball.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by doctorhl View Post
                            Great article. Any thoughts about learning to hit behind the opponent on clay, especially if one is a hard court, flat hitter playing a little closer to the baseline? It takes a little adjustment to slightly delay the stroke, but if you can wrong foot the opponent and make them respect that shot, then they will not be able to lean heavily toward the open court in anticipation. I don’t know if this stroke is relevant for the higher level player who stands further behind the baseline with a more open stance when hitting the ball.
                            My guess is that you could watch how Davidenko used to do it. He would give Federer and Nadal fits on clay. He took it early and put everything back in the court.

                            My approach would be to hit the ball short cross court. If it is low enough, they will have to hit up from inside the court and that will expose them if you can take their time away.

                            I once won a match playing serve and volley on clay. It can be done but the ball has to be hit short enough to create lots of space on the other side which they leads to the potential to wrong foot them.

                            Let me know if you manage to pull it off.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by doctorhl View Post
                              Great articlell.
                              Thanks!!

                              Comment

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