US Open 2022: Alcaraz rated Rafael well | Sports

US Open 2022: Alcaraz rated Rafael well | Sports

In the game of tennis, the two characteristics that have been increasingly exceeded throughout history are power and speed of impact. I grew up as a player and later as a coach, admiring the great tennis players of yesteryear and amazed at how fast they hit the ball. Today, anyone curious to watch John McEnroe, Björn Borg, Ivan Lendl or Jimmy Connors on YouTube will be surprised at how slow their executions are compared to what tennis has become today. It is the patina of time which, far from harming legendary players, imposes a natural evolution.

Although the first generations of tennis players who followed Roger Federer, Rafael and Novak Djokovic failed to surpass the big trio in speed or intensity, I think I can say after watching the quarter-final match between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner that these two players inaugurate a new change that will be the line that tennis players who want to be at the top of the rankings must follow.

This match (I write the day before the Spaniard’s match against Frances Tiafoe) which we had the chance to attend on Thursday at dawn is one of those duels that will remain in our memory for a long time. The intensity and speed of the exchanges are rarely seen. Either of the two tennis players could have won the match, but the balance tipped in favor of the Murcian tennis player, who even saved a match point, due to the great combativeness that characterizes him.

Throughout the history of sport, new generations have taken as examples and inspiration the most outstanding and recent personalities, and it is they whom they try to imitate and, if possible, to surpass. And one of the successes of good players is adjusting their style to the right model; that is, knowing how to see which are the most suitable models according to the characteristics that one possesses.

That’s what Rafael and I have been trying to do since the start of his tennis career. Even having Carlos Moyà as a favorite player, also as a close character, compatriot and friend, it was clear to me very early on that the pattern of play that my nephew should follow to improve his natural qualities was a mixture of the game of Thomas Muster and Jimmy Connors.

It is also one of the great virtues that Alcaraz cherishes. Although he openly declared that he was an admirer of Roger Federer, he could see that his line of play should follow the same paths that continue to guide my nephew. Our young tennis player showed that same desire for victory, that ability not to give up and to fight until the last ball, that same intensity that gave Rafael so many victories and that Carlos took note of, because he left to grow as a tennis player.

And this is one of the added values ​​that should be given to great athletes: to become role models for new generations who always end up bearing fruit. Like Martín Landaluce, the young tennis player from Madrid who will also play in the final of the US Open in the junior category, who has declared himself a great admirer of Rafael and Alcaraz, and who will also speak very soon.

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