Trending on Tennis: Carlos Alcaraz is back on track to be the best player of all time


Credit: Alyssa Ao

WSPN’s Jeffery Zhang reflects on if Novak Djokovic can win the French Open.

Jeffery Zhang

Carlos Alcaraz’s win at the 2023 Indian Wells Masters is the start of a career that may surpass the legacy of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or even Novak Djokovic. On March 19, Carlos Alcaraz toppled fifth seed Daniil Medvedev to win the Indian Wells Masters. Not only did he win, but he breezed through his matches without losing a single set the entire tournament. To put it simply, he had no competition on his way to the top. But can a single good tournament define a player? No. However, this isn’t Alcaraz’s first good performance.

Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain, reached his number one rank after dominating Daniil Medvedev, however Novak Djokovic has reclaimed his spot at number one after Alcaraz lost to Jannik Sinner during the Miami Open semi-final. Alcaraz’s heartbreaking loss doesn’t change his impressive rise to the top. It’s simply astonishing to see how much Alcaraz has accomplished at only 19 years old. He’s the youngest player to reach the world number one spot in tennis history.

In addition, he has already won the 2022 US Open and three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. Alcaraz might even be slightly ahead of the Big Three (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) in terms of the rate at which he is winning tournaments. Despite all of this, it’s not his achievements, nor the number of tournaments that he’s won that is crucial for his potential to become the best tennis player in history. Alcaraz has something that other young tennis players don’t have. The mindset of a champion.

Everybody has their own idea of what a champion is. Now, depending on the circumstance, the definition of a champion can vary. In the sport of tennis, my idea of a champion is somebody who does everything they can to win. Now, this goes further than just wanting to win. It means being able to learn from a loss. It means not making excuses, but simply worrying only about things that are within your control. Becoming a champion means putting in effort and time to improve and hone your skills.

Alcaraz has all of these qualities. If you watch him play, he never gets mad and only blames himself instead of his opponent, which is incredible. To perform at such a high level in a sport as mentally draining as tennis, there are so many things that can get in your way mentally, and it’s extraordinarily difficult not to make excuses. The fact that Alcaraz is able to separate his emotions during his matches and stay consistent with his playing is what defines Alcaraz from other players. That’s why Alcaraz has the highest chance of becoming the next greatest tennis player of all time.

Of course, a key factor to success in tennis is skill. However, at the level that professional tennis players are at, there’s barely any skill disparities between the top ranked players. Yes, skill and technique is essential, but it’s not as important as a player’s mental strength. Nevertheless, Alcaraz has incredible technique and power in his strokes.

Watching the Indian Wells tournament, it was terrifying to see the strength with which Alcaraz struck each ball, and the hunger that he had in his eyes while searching for openings in his opponents’ defense.

The biggest drawback with the way Alcaraz hits the ball is that his technique may come with many injuries. He hits the ball with such force every single time that eventually this power might cost him his career. He’s already had abdominal and hamstring injuries which put him out of commission for more than three months. Who’s to say that another injury wouldn’t jeopardize his career?

Carlos Alcaraz holds incredible potential to become the greatest player in history, there’s no doubt about that. There is still so much that Alcaraz needs to accomplish, but for now, he is headed on the right track. With the right mentality and a career with few injuries, he could establish himself alongside the best tennis players in history.