Carlos Alcaraz news: Why the Spanish teenager could be the next big thing

Lucy Roberts
Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz wins Next Gen ATP finals

Despite only being 18 years old, Carlos Alcaraz accomplished something last week Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have never done in their careers.

The Spaniard won the Rio Open, his first ever ATP 500 title, but the Serb and Swiss players have failed to win a competition like this – an ATP 500 tournament on clay.

Although it could be argued that Djokovic and Federer have 20 Grand Slam titles each to their names so an ATP 500 competition pales in comparison, nothing should be taken away from Alcaraz’s accomplishment.

The world No 20 is only at the beginning of his tennis career after only turning professional two years ago, actually making his ATP Tour debut at 16 years old at the Rio Open, but in just two years he’s managed to go from debutant to champion.

“In a Masters there are the best players in the world, but I’m ready to move to this level,” the Spaniard revealed.

“I’m feeling good, and believing in myself, so I think I’m ready.”

The ‘next Rafael Nadal’ only just missed out on a fourth round place at the Australian Open earlier this year following a mammoth five set match with Matteo Berrettini, but he quickly recovered to lift the trophy in South America last week after defeating former champion Diego Schwartzman in the final – and getting revenge on Berrettini along the way.

Despite being outside the top 100 just a year ago, this win hoisted him up into the top 20, the youngest to do so since Nadal in 2005 further proving that Alcaraz could well be the next big star in the sport.

He’s come a long way over the past 12 months which was evidenced when he reached the quarter finals of the US Open back in November, even beating current world No 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas and Brit Cameron Norrie to get there.

Alcaraz was due to play in the Mexican Open where he could have faced the actual Rafael Nadal, but he withdrew from the competition due to an elbow injury.

But one day, when he isn’t injured, he just might be the next Nadal, Djokovic, Federer or even better.