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Carlos Alcaraz is a combination of Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic, coaches say — making him the most promising player in men’s tennis

Teenage tennis sensation Carlos Alcaraz plays the biggest match of his fledgling career on Tuesday when he faces Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals of the French Open.

Under normal circumstances, world No. 3 Zverev would be the odds-on favorite.

However, Alcaraz is no normal 19-year-old.

Already this year, the Spaniard has won four singles titles, more than any other player on the men’s tour.

He first won the Rio Open in February before claiming both Miami and Barcelona in April. In May, he then won the Madrid Open, where he beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in consecutive matches en route to besting Zverev in the final.

On top of beating Nadal, Djokovic, and Zverev this year, Alcaraz has also swept aside Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, and Cameron Norrie, as well as both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini twice apiece.

The teenager is leaving everyone in his wake, and he seems poised to continue his run heading into the last-eight in Paris.

“People are going to think that I’m one of the favorites to win Roland-Garros,” he told reporters after his first round win over Juan Ignacio Londero last week. “I don’t have it as tension, I have it as a motivation.”

Other than a supreme level of confidence, what is it that makes Alcaraz so special at such a young age? According to top tennis coaches, it’s his versatility on the court.

“He’s a new breed of player,” Alistair Higham, a Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) master club coach, told Insider.

“The variety in his game is refreshing, combining the fast racquet-head speed and heavy topspin that are so familiar in Spanish players, with the touch and net play more associated with an older generation. His speed around the court is stunning.”

“He can adapt very, very quickly and adjust how he wants to play depending on the individual that he’s playing against,” English coach Dean Gayton of Service Line Tennis Events, who has worked with young players in Spain, Australia, and Dubai, told Insider.

Gayton added that he can see elements of Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray in Alcaraz’s style of play.

“What he offers is an aggressive playing style as of Federer; an ability to grind and trade and physically outlast his opponent like Nadal; an ability to move and cover the court and counter punch in defence like Djokovic; but he also has the touch, the finesse, the drop shots, like Murray,” he said.

“He has so much variation. He can be powerful. He can be delicate. He can be winning points from the baseline or he can grind and play for 30 or 40 shots. He can come in and volley, and he can volley with depth or he can volley with touch.

“He’s the full package.”


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