Carlos Alcaraz best attribute named by McIlroy as tennis ace hailed

McIlroy says he's 'chipped away' at weaknesses in career

Rory McIlroy provided a glowing assessment of tennis star Carlos Alcaraz. The Spaniard has wowed the tennis world over the last year and won his maiden Grand Slam in September as well as becoming world No. 1.

The teenager has positioned himself as the next big star in the game, rivalling Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and has gained many admirers as a result of his achievements so far. One of which is one of golf’s top stars in McIlroy, who is preparing to try and win his maiden Masters title next week. In an interview with The Telegraph, the four-time major winner admitted he is particularly impressed with the Spaniard’s mentality and attitude to the game.

“I’ve been reading Alcaraz’s interviews,” McIlroy said. “I mean, to have this philosophy and, more so, the understanding and the conviction at the age he is and with all the pressure he’s had and the expectation on him to be the next big thing as that golden age comes to an end… well, it’s incredible really. A lot of what he says sticks with me, but especially one bit.”

He added: “Carlos says his aim is always to play with ‘joy and instinct’,” the Northern Irishman said. “That’s fantastic isn’t it? Listen to that – ‘joy and instinct’. What a lovely, beautiful and very plain ambition to have. It is what every kid has when they first play a sport and what invariably then gets lost when the really good ones progress and turn professional. The joy goes. The instinct gets lost.

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“Alcaraz is not trying to be the new [Roger] Federer or new [Rafael] Nadal or new [Novak] Djokovic – he is just trying to play tennis as he wants to, but also to the best of his ability in a way that the fans will love. He talks of not making everything monotonous and life being more fun that way and his tennis being more fun to watch.”

McIlroy, meanwhile, says he took “tons of positives” away from last weekend’s WGC Match Play after beating world No.1 Scottie Scheffler in the third-place play-off. He finished runner-up behind the American at Augusta last year and said he is ‘more positive’ than last year going into next week’s major tournament.

“There are a ton of positives to take away,” McIlroy told Sky Sports. “If you had told me I would make it to the Sunday of the Match Play last week I would have taken that. I think my game is in really good shape so just keep it ticking over, work on the shots I need for Augusta and away we go.”

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The Northern Irish star came close to completing the career Grand Slam in 2022 but finished three shots behind Scheffler at Augusta a year ago. Heading into the 2023 edition of the event, McIlroy is in good form and feeling confident he can win the prestigious Green jacket for the first time in his career.

“I’m a lot more confident going into Augusta than I was last year, and last year was my best-ever finish,” he added. “The one thing about Augusta is you can’t go in too over confident. But I feel like I’m driving the ball better, I’ve got a driver I’m more comfortable with and my putting really progressed as the week went on here.”

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