Opinion

The future of men’s tennis has arrived

A tennis revolution took place over the weekend and it barely rated a mention in Australia. 

They sure noticed in Spain, as their wonder kid, Carlos Alcaraz, tore apart the Madrid Open and stamped himself as the man who is going to inherit the mantle left behind by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. 

And he is not going to wait for them to discard the cloak of greatness. He is going to snatch it from them. 

But first to the Madrid quarter finals, where the 19-year-old Alcaraz took the first set off his boyhood idol Rafael Nadal and everyone present applauded with enthusiastic encouragement. 

When Nadal retaliated by winning the 2nd 6-1, the Spanish crowd roared behind their champion “knowing” he had put the youngster in his place. 

But despite an ankle injury, Alcaraz won the deciding set 6-3 and this time the hair-raising crowd response had that rare feel of witnessing history. 

We heard that sound again in the semi-finals, when Alcaraz came back from a set down to defeat Novak Djokovic 6-7 (7-5), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5). 

Never done before. 

No player has ever beaten Nadal and Djokovic at the same tournament. 

Can you imagine any player from the emerging crop doing that? 

Of course not. 

It’s embarrassing to even ask the question. 

This was the most exciting, desperate, courageous tennis match I have ever seen. 

It was like a Marvel movie. But Spiderman and Ironman could not have put on a show like this one on the Madrid clay. 

So it was a bit of an anti-climax last night when Alcaraz won the Madrid final, dismissing Alex Zverev 6-3, 6-2. It was a formality. 

This time when the crowd rose, it anointed a changing of the world guard of tennis. He is world number 9, but not for long. 

Young Carlos Alcaraz has the athleticism, the pure skills and most importantly the belief to beat anyone, on clay and hardcourts. 

He must also dominate grass to be truly great. 

At Wimbledon he has not passed the second round. At the Australian Open his best is third round. Same with the French. 

He reached the quarter finals at the US Open. 

All of this in the past. He is ready now. 

And Carlos Alcaraz also has charisma in spades. He doesn’t rely on tricks and obscenities to drive the audience like Nick Kyrgios. 

He electrifies his fans with the energy that crackles through him on every point. 

He’s not dour like Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, who are ranked number 2 and 3 in the world, but are merely warming the bench waiting for someone great to arrive. 

Well, he arrived this weekend. 

Watch Cameron Williams on the Sport Report with Alan Jones, Thursdays 8pm AEST on ADH.TV: https://watch.adh.tv/sport-with-cameron-williams

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