When Carlos Alcaraz sealed victory and fell to his knees on the Rio de Janeiro clay, the tennis world felt the ground shake.
The 18-year-old has started 2022 on fire and his recent title run at the Rio Open presented by Claro win made him the youngest winner of an ATP 500 event. The victory also moved Alcaraz into the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings for the first time, a feat he has achieved at a younger age than Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, to name but a few.
The tremors of his Rio victory caused waves outside tennis, too. The Spanish sensation features on the front cover of this month’s Men’s Health Spain, and you can read an excerpt from the interview below:
Much has been said in recent weeks about the physical transformation of Carlos Alcaraz, but his maturity has gone much further. At 18 years old, the tennis player from El Palmar (Murcia) has won his first ATP 500 tournament and jumped into the Top 20 after winning the final in Rio de Janeiro and showing that his tennis is much more than muscle and youth.
“For me, tennis is purely mental,” says the tennis player in the exclusive interview he has granted to Men’s Health Spain. “In the end, you are alone there on the court, and it is you and only you who has to know how to overcome and find solutions.” Alcaraz has become the youngest ‘cover’ in the 20-year history of the magazine in Spain, one more milestone in his daring precocity.
Nadal’s shadow is long but Alcaraz avoids comparisons: “I don’t feel like anyone’s successor. I want to be known as Carlos Alcaraz and not as Rafa Nadal’s successor. I want my name to be known.”
Match by match, there is no place or person on the planet that has not set eyes on him. The New York Times defined him as “the great sensation of sport” and “a true prodigy”. For John McEnroe, he is “a player who is going to win a lot of Majors.”
“I have always kept in mind that the first thing is to be a person, and then an athlete,” says Alcaraz, who is always very grateful to the work of his coach, former tennis player Juan Carlos Ferrero. “It is a motto that helps me keep a cool head and my feet on the ground no matter what happens.”
You can read the full story in Spanish from Men’s Health Spain here.