‘Carlos Alcaraz tougher to face than Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and ahead of Big Three at the same age’
Taylor Fritz got a first taste of what it is like to be on the other side of the net when Carlos Alcaraz is hitting 110-mile-an-hour shots and he has come to the conclusion that it is more difficult to face the teenager than the Big Three.
Alcaraz has been in sensational form since returning from injury as he won the Argentina Open and Indian Wells Open and also finished runner-up in Rio.
After taking down Fritz 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 18 minutes in the quarter-final of the Miami Open, the Spaniard is now just two wins away from successfully defending his title and completing the Sunshine Double.
Alcaraz is no doubt destined for greatness and he has already been compared with all-time greats Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Fritz has played against the Big Three and he admits the 19-year-old’s game on the day was on another level.
“Oh, I definitely felt like I had more breathing room against those guys than in this match,” he said.
The American added: “I think that it’s different game styles. Novak will have these long rallies, but he’ll kind of slowly get you out of position and overwhelm you. I still feel like I can hang in these rallies for a long time and get more chances to attack.
“I think that I’d go back to the first couple games of the match. He just hit winners off of a lot of shots, shots that people normally aren’t hurting me off of.
“I just felt he was more offensive and pressed me a lot more.”
Alcaraz won the US Open last year and also became the first teenage world No 1, but there is no doubt that he will win more Grand Slams.
World No 10 Fritz feels the 19-year-old is ahead of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer at the same age.
“It’s not even what I saw today. It’s what I have seen for a while now. I said it a year ago when I watched him play, for how young he is, he just has all the tools,” he said.
“He can come to the net, he can dropshot you, he can lob you, he’s incredibly fast, he has all the power, his forehand is good, his backhand is good. It’s very rare to see someone so young so developed in their game and not really have anything that they need to work on so much.
“He has tons of different ways to play, and he can incorporate tons of different game plans to play different players because he has so many tools to win a match.
“I think that’s something that I wouldn’t say any of those people had at such a young age. There is always I guess things that people need to improve on.”
Alcaraz started Thursday’s match with a break in the opening game and he was always in control after that.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 31, 2023
Fritz admitted that he didn’t have too many answers during the opening stages.
“I did feel the level of the first three games was absolutely unbearable. He was hitting clean winners off of 110-mile-an-hour second serves I was hitting into his body. I’m stepping up and crushing backhands cross, and he’s going open-stance backhand line winners off of that,” he said.
“That wasn’t the level for the rest of the match. I was able to settle in much more, and he wasn’t doing that the whole match. But he obviously possesses that level, and for those first couple of games, it was pretty overwhelming.”
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