Carlos Alcaraz has been told that he must “watch out” or risk wrecking his body. Marion Bartoli believes that the 20-year-old’s explosive game style could end up hurting him physically in the long term – a problem she believes Novak Djokovic has been able to avoid in his own career.
Alcaraz has established himself as the best young player that men’s tennis has seen in years, winning his first Grand Slam title as a 19-year-old and becoming the youngest world No 1 in ATP history. Now a two-time Major winner, the Spaniard is leading the way for the next generation of stars which also includes Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner.
But both Alcaraz and Rune have been warned about sabotaging their bodies with their volatile games. The world No 2 is known for his intensity on the court and 2013 Wimbledon champion Bartoli believes that both 20-year-olds might need to start managing their bodies better as they get older.
Discussing Alcaraz, she told the Tennis Majors Match Points podcast: “Because of the physicality of his game and the way he is playing, he’s just more prone to having the small injuries. They’re not major injuries that put him on the side for a long time, even though last year he missed the year-end championship and therefore the Australian Open this year.”
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The Frenchwoman also brought Rune into the conversation after the world No 4 spent the summer struggling with a back injury, failing to win a match between Wimbledon and Beijing. “I think it’s more due to a different game style,” she explained.
“When we look at Holger, it’s very muscley and now he has this major back injury because you can see everything is just really forced. And it’s the same for Carlos in some sort of ways.” In comparison, Bartoli thinks that Djokovic is the “perfect tennis athlete” – something that helps him continue to win Grand Slam titles at the age of 36.
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“The flexibility, the smoothness, everything moves freely,” she added. It’s something that Alcaraz and Rune might want to emulate later on, as Bartoli told them to “watch out” in case the powerful play styles that helped them break through could be their undoing down the line.
“That’s also why Carlos and Holger got so good so early, as well,” Bartoli continued. “So it’s the pros and the cons from what their game styles are and the way they are built physically, but for sure they will have to watch out because if they want to last that long it’s going to take a lot out of both of their bodies.”
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