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Carlos Alcaraz has been compared to other “phenoms” like Rafael Nadal after his US Open win, with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer snubbed from the list of greats. The 19-year-old won his maiden Grand Slam title on Sunday and became the youngest man ever to reach the world No 1 spot as a result.
Alcaraz had long been tipped for huge success and the Spanish teenager has already fulfilled expectations as he won his first Major title at the US Open and became the new world No 1. The six-time title winner is now being touted as one of the greats of the sport, and has been compared to the likes of Nadal – the last man to win a Grand Slam title as a teenager.
Todd Woodbridge – a 22-time Grand Slam champion in men’s and mixed doubles – is the latest player to laud praise on the new world No 1 as he claimed Alcaraz was a rare “phenom” in the sport. “When you look at the tennis landscape over the last 30, 40, maybe 50 years, there’s only been a few players that have come along that are what you’d call a ‘phenom’,” he told The AO Show podcast.
The retired pro then snubbed Djokovic and Nadal from his list of “phenoms” as he included Michael Chang and Boris Becker, who both won their respective maiden Grand Slam titles as 17-year-olds. He continued: “You might look at the result of Michael Chang, Rafa coming through, and that’s in my time at least, and then Boris Becker just before my time.”
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And Woodbridge thought Alcaraz belonged at the top with the greats and claimed that his win signalled the changing of the guard, adding: “Now we throw Carlos Alcaraz into that mix, where we’ve witnessed the beginning of greatness. And time will tell how ultimately great he will become.
“But the performance that he put on at this tournament was just a joy to watch, and really made me feel like tennis is in that transition, and it’s going to be amazing. I didn’t expect we’d have this quality of play this early from the next generation.”
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The Aussie also compared Alcaraz to Nadal, Djokovic and Federer, claiming he possessed the best traits from each of the Big Three’s game styles – something Alcaraz’s US Open final opponent Casper Ruud also claimed. “Normally a young player will come along and they’ll idolise a certain player, and their attributes will be of that one player,” Woodbridge said.
“But it looks to me as though Carlos has cherry-picked the very best out of Federer (the way that he transitions and volleys), Nadal (the tenacity, the positivity), and then the athleticism and movement of Djokovic. I’ve never seen a more well-rounded player in my time of watching the game.”
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