Carlos Alcaraz, fresh from the Miami Open, seems unbeatable at the moment. The Spanish rising star, at just 18 years old, has already put a very prestigious title on his record, the biggest of his very young career. The loser, on the Florida cement, was Casper Ruud, who had immediately gone ahead with a break in the first set, only to be overwhelmed by the physical and technical power of the Murcian, who from the seventh game put the 'pilot automatic' to win the match (7-5, 6-4).
Alcaraz, who -it goes without saying- broke another record: with his victory over Ruud, he became the first Spanish player to win in Miami in the 37-year history of the tournament. In addition, the talent from El Palmar has reached his best ranking (11) and has stayed a hair's breadth from the Top-10 (which, meanwhile, has seen the entry of Cameron Norrie).
Inevitably, he was showered with praise, especially from Rafael Nadal, his lifelong idol. But there was a call that especially surprised Alcaraz on the eve of the Miami final: none other than King Felipe VI of Spain himself, who congratulated Juan Carlos Ferrero's pupil for his work so far.
Receiving compliments from the king of your country in person is not something you do every day. Imagine if it is from a young man like Carlos Alcaraz, who is doing exceptionally well despite the fact that he has only just entered the world of senior tennis.
"It's quite surprising to receive the call from the King of Spain. I was more nervous [about] that call than about the match," the Spaniard said with a smile as he commented on the call from King Felipe VI.
Nadal began the year with a bang
Former World No.
4 James Blake was recently asked to combine certain components from past and present players' games to create an "unbeatable player". The American picked Rafael Nadal's mentality, Novak Djokovic's backhand and return, and Roger Federer's forehand, among other shots.
"There's so many mentally tough players ... but I just think what he's (Rafael Nadal) done mentally, the way he, I mean you've never seen him once smash a racket on court. You've never seen him get down on himself to the point where it seems like it affects the next point, you don't see him getting onto people's faces," Blake said.
"He's extremely excited, he's pumped up and he's the guy that in the first round of a tournament, in the final of a tournament, looks like he is competing for every single point. Down 40-love in the first game, he might make a great shot and give a fist pump in the first round against a guy he's gonna end up beating 2 and 2."