Alcaraz, whose style of play has been compared to Rafael Nadal’s, has only grown in his level as he’s worked his way through many competitions. By November 1st 2021, he had made his debut as the youngest player in the top 35 after defeating world No.7 Matteo Berrettini at the Erste Bank Open - marking his second win over a player ranked in the top 10. His success has skyrocketed since then, being seeded for the first time at a Grand Slam in the Australian Open as he reached the third round before losing to Matteo Berrettini. This has not hindered the young player, however, with the New York Times stating that he was “one of the most exciting next-generation talents in sports”. Since then, Alcarazes rose to seed No. 14th at the Miami open, beating players like Marin Čilić and Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets before eventually winning his first Masters 1000 title. At the Barcelona Open, Alcarez once again beat Tsitsipas in the quarter finals to enter the top 10 for the first time on April 25th. Notably, he is the 20th teen to achieve this overall since rankings were established in 1973 and the youngest since Nadal competed the same event - coincidentally on the same date too.
A day after his 19th birthday at the Mutua Madrid Open, he defeated 5-time Madrid champion Nadal in the quarterfinals to become the first teenager to beat him on clay. This also marked the end of Nadal’s 25-match win streak against his fellow Spanish players. The following day, Alcaraz went on to beat world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals - breaking another record as the youngest player to win a match against a world No. 1 since Nadal against Roger Federer in the 2004 Miami Open. These two wins for the young star also meant he was the first man ever to beat Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back on clay, becoming the youngest men’s finalist in the history of the Madrid Open.
Not only has the player impressed the crowds watching him play, but his fellow tennis stars are also more than happy to deliver praise out loud for him. In his Madrid Open runner-up speech, Sascha Zverev called him “the best player in the world, even though you’re still five years old” whilst Tsitsipas said “he inspires me a lot. I really want to be like him. I look up to him”. Alcaraz’s variety in his game play, his changing of pace, height and spin, surely set him up to be a real threat to other players at Roland Garros. He’s currently the second favourite to win the competition and if his previous play is anything to consider, then the chance of him winning the trophy is very high indeed.