Carlos Alcaraz to CNN: ‘I’m playing unbelievable tennis’
Carlos Alcaraz has become one of the best players in his sport. Here’s what you need to know about the Venezuelan. (1:34)
The story of how Carlos Alcaraz came to play in the world’s top tier this year is well-known enough. He was at the top of his game and he found himself struggling to find a team in the American hardcourt circuit. But then he reached his first Grand Slam final, over Rafael Nadal, and at last, he got to wear that crown.
Now he, too, is playing well, but he is at a different level. He’s a player in the top 10 of the world rankings, and he is playing under a different style. Here’s a look at his rise and his place in tennis history.
1. He began playing professional in 2001, not long after moving to Caracas from his native Granada, Venezuela. His father was a former major champion at the age of 35, but Carlos had to fight to earn his spot on the court. His game is a blend of tennis and soccer — his father played both of them. His dad also introduced him to the sport of baseball, and Carlos became entranced with baseball too. He tried out for the youth Venezuelan national team, for all the junior national teams in Venezuela, and he tried out for the Venezuelan national indoor team.
He also tried out against his father, and he knew he had nothing to lose. “You know what I did? I started taking tennis lessons,” Alcaraz said. “I didn’t know how good my tennis was. I wasn’t even playing with my dad. I would have to practice with him at home. But he said I was the best in the house. So I started taking tennis, and he started putting me on his team.
“So, he would say, ‘We are playing a team practice’, and I would come down and practice. I would always come on Saturdays. He would say, ‘Go practice with them. I’m going away today. I’ll be back tomorrow.’ And he would go to his club. Every weekend. I would go watch him play, and then my father would come home and say, ‘See, you’re really good! The best in the house! Do you want to play me