The history of tennis always leaves us with statistics and data that surprise locals and strangers. It also shows us that these same data are there to break, just as it provides us with an always necessary historical context that helps us compare and measure the achievements of the present. On this day, Carlos Alcaraz has fully entered the top-10, and he has done it in a way that we have not seen for a long time: with youth and precocity as the flag. Generations have gone by where the definitive explosion of players, especially in the “postBigThree” world, has occurred at ages reserved for the range of between 20 and 30 years old. Thus, what the Murcian is doing surprises and scares in equal parts, which leads us to ask ourselves one thing: How does he compare to the great legends of this sport?
We do not know where it will reach Alcaraz, nor do we have a ball of time to know its ceiling in the future. The only thing we can do is analyze your present. From there, drawing similarities with other great champions becomes an exercise where we can only take into account Carlitos’ current age. Do not worry: the prospect, of course, is rosy. And if they need further confirmation, the data gives us a reliable basis on which to interpret what Alcaraz is doing. In the table that we see below, made by the user Oleg S. on Twitter, we can see where the last 20 number ones on his 19th birthdayage that the one from El Palmar will reach next week (which, until then, will not raise any more positions in the ATP Rankings). And the data, of course… speak for themselves.
Alcaraz will be ranked 9th on his 19th birthday.
Not to imply anything — just out of curiosity — where the last 20 ATP No. 1 players were ranked on their 19th birthday (also on 20th and 21st): pic.twitter.com/iOByjAysjC
— Oleg S. (@AnnaK_4ever) April 24, 2022
ONLY THREE LEGENDS IN A BETTER POSITION THAN ALCARAZ
Three names that have engraved their names in the tennis Olympus of youth surpass Carlos Alcaraz if we look at the ATP ranking. Only three names, also known throughout the tennis planet. If the Murcian will reach his 19th birthday at # 9 in the world, Rafael Nadal did it in #5, just like Andrew Agassi. The undisputed winner, yes, it is Boris Becker, who was already #2 in the world at that age. Incredible savages that are contextualized by the successes of these beasts: the German had already made history by winning Wimbledon at just 17 years old (at that time he was the youngest player in history to have won a Grand Slam, a record that was later broken by Michael Chang), Nadal was just two days away from winning his first Roland Garros (in 2005) and Agassi was already the “enfant terrible” of a tennis world that was watching him closely. Alcaraz is on that step, yes.
SUPERIOR TO DJOKOVIC OR FEDERER
Analyzing the trajectory of the members of the Big Three makes us see that, indeed, age is just a number. This comparison is not the absolute truth, and there are no better examples than those of Roger Federer Y Novak Djokovic to be able to understand it. The Swiss was still on the way to temper his wayward character, although his path to stardom was already well marked (he was #39 in the world) and he had not even released his title locker yet, having accumulated only one final in the Marseille tournament. At that time it was 2000… and Roger would take three more years to be crowned in one of the four Majors. For his part, Nole was still out of the top # 60, he was still a first-timer on the circuit and he had not won any wound either. Two names that make us see that precocity influences, but that every great legend explodes in due time.
DANIIL MEDVEDEV, A CURIOUS CASE
This comparative table also leaves us with some other noteworthy data, some figure that makes us see everything that times have changed. For example, do you remember where it was Daniel Medvedev when did you turn 19? I don’t blame them if they don’t: the Russian was located beyond the top-600 of the ranking, being someone who was hardly talked about and noticeably lagged behind others of his peers; however, yes, he was the first member of his generation to reach number one in the world. Also surprising others like John Charles Ferrerothe coach of Alcaraz himself, located at #345 in the world, or Gustavo Kuertena rookie in the elite until the first Roland Garros put him squarely in the big leagues (#270 in the world when he turned 19).
Will Carlos become number one in the world? The truth is that his current progression, placed in the context of the great names in tennis history, augurs very good marks for the Murcian. However, beyond an exercise of interpretation and analysis that takes us back to past times, patience and humility will continue to be essential elements in his growth. Although of course, that’s nothing that Carlitos and his entourage don’t know… and hence we can openly delude ourselves with the brilliant path that it is beginning to travel.