Carlos Alcaraz has ‘a drop shot from outer space,’ says former Serena Williams coach
Serena Williams’ former coach Rick Macci says Carlos Alcaraz is unlike anything we have ever seen in tennis.
Alcaraz only just turned 20 this year and yet he already has a US Open title and a Wimbledon title to his name. What was most impressive about the latter was that he had to beat Novak Djokovic on Centre Court – something that has appeared just about impossible for anyone else to achieve in recent years.
Djokovic did get the better of Alcaraz in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals and it is the Serbian, not the Spaniard, who tops the year-end world rankings.
However, Macci says everyone should strap themselves in for an incredible ride when it comes to watching Alcaraz shifting his career up through the gears.
“Alcaraz… we’ve never seen anything like this, Macci said on the Match Point Canada Podcast. “We’ve never seen it.
“He is a combination of, I tell everybody, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Agassi all wrapped in one. He has make-up speed like no other. Once he hits that other gear his turbo speed is amazing.
“He has a drop shot from outer space. He has missed more drop shots as a kid than anybody who has played tennis because he has tried more – and whoever coached him as a kid would not discourage that.
“I think, he is going to get such a bucket of Grand Slams, it’s unreal. I feel, in my opinion, he is by far, the leader in the clubhouse.”
Carlos Alcaraz compared to the greats
Macci is, of course, not the first person to compare Carlos Alcaraz to tennis greats. Due to his nationality alone he has been compared to Rafael Nadal since his early teens.
There is a growing realisation in tennis, though, that Alcaraz is something truly special as he possesses both elite athleticism and a variety of shots that even the most experienced players could not hope to achieve.
Speaking after that Wimbledon final, Novak Djokovic himself had some serious praise to hand out to Alcaraz.
“I think people have been talking in the past 12 months or so about his game consisting of certain elements from Roger, Rafa, and myself. I would agree with that. I think he’s got basically best of all three worlds,” said Djokovic.
“He’s got this mental resilience and real maturity for someone who is 20 years old. It’s quite impressive. He’s got this Spanish bull mentality of competitiveness and fighting spirit and incredible defence that we’ve seen with Rafa over the years.
“And I think he’s got some nice sliding backhands that he’s got some similarities with my backhands. Yeah, two-handed backhands, defence, being able to adapt. I think that has been my personal strength for many years. He has it, too.
“I haven’t played a player like him ever, to be honest. Roger and Rafa have their own strengths and weaknesses. Carlos is a very complete player. Amazing adapting capabilities that I think are a key for longevity and for a successful career on all surfaces.”
In many ways, Djokovic’s continued presence and level on the ATP Tour will likely help Alcaraz.
Not only will he need to strive for a special level to compete with him, but having Djokovic around will also dampen expectations for a while and allow Alcaraz to develop without extra pressure.
Whatever happens, you won’t find many queuing up to dispute Macci’s assessment of Alcaraz, such is the impression he has made on tennis.
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