Carlos Alcaraz - US Open 2023

John McEnroe reveals two ‘great qualities’ that makes Carlos Alcaraz different

Carlos Alcaraz is going to inspire a generation of players to try and ’emulate’ his game, according to John McEnroe. 

Alcaraz looks like he is going to be a generational tennis talent, with him already winning two majors despite being just 20-years-old.

He’s already up and running at the Australian Open with a straight sets win over Richard Gasquet in the first round, and he will surely be the biggest threat to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne.

For McEnroe, Alcaraz is a breath of fresh air with his serve-volley style, and he thinks the Spaniard could inspire a big stylistic change in a sport that has become dominated by baseline exchanges.

“I think there are a lot of players out there now going big and trying to make things happen; that’s the style of play, “ McEnroe told Eurosport.

“The difference with [Carlos] Alcaraz is twofold: one, he’s one of the best volleyers I’ve seen, he’s very skilled at the net and loves to move forward. There’s hope! Me and Tim [Henman] loved to serve and volley; that’s a dying breed. To see him doing this is absolutely amazing.

“I think you’re going to see a lot of young players try to emulate Carlos and even some veterans, actually.”

However, despite Carlos Alcaraz having a technique, physicality and variety of shots that would be the envy of just about the whole ATP Tour, McEnroe thinks his biggest single quality is in his head.

“He says this is his best quality – his smile. How in the world can he go through what he goes through; the tension in a big match, and the pressure that you put on yourself and others put on you, and go out there and have this big smile on his face and be able to brush off negative things is, to me, the greatest quality he’s got. That’s even more difficult to emulate.

That said, McEnroe does believe Alcaraz maybe needs to manage his schedule a little better, especially after Slams – at least until he has more experience of managing the emotional toll tennis takes on a player.

“He played one of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen when he beat Novak [Djokovic] at Wimbledon and was on an incredible high.

“After that in Cincinnati he looked flat, physically spent and didn’t look himself. He’s 20 years old and I think he needed to get away, not needing matches. Everyone including myself loves Carlos and the joy he brings to the court so the fans will love him out there.”

You can watch the Australian Open live on Eurosport and Discovery+.

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.