Currently ranked no. 9 in the world in the global rankings and showing no signs of stopping, emerging tennis superstar Carlos Alcaraz might be young in years (he is just turning 19 next month) but that does not mean he cannot go head-to-head with some of the sport’s best. Tennis experts have compared Alcarez’s career trajectory with Rafael Nadal (who happens to be the young star’s childhood hero), with both sharing the same raw talent and sheer magnetism both on and off the tennis court.
While Alcaraz is normally all smiles and cheerfulness off the court, his sunny disposition quickly disappears when it’s time to get to work. After all, the Murcia native is being touted to become the World’s next no. 1, a goal that he’s clearly taken to heart. His meteoric rise in the tennis world is all thanks to his hard work in the gym, a strict diet, chess, and occasional training sessions with his personal hero, tennis superstar Rafael Nadal.
To go even further up the player rankings, Alcaraz makes sure that his daily training never wavers. Just like any other professional athlete, the Spanish star has access to some of the world’s best sports personnel. His instruction is overseen by none other than former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, rounded up by fitness coach Alberto Lledo, physiotherapist Sergio Hernandez, doctor Juanjo Lopez, and psychologist Isabel Balaguer, all of which are hell-bent on making Alcaraz into the champion he is destined to be.
For the past four years, Alcaraz’s daily gym sessions were designed to alter his musculoskeletal system to ramp up his speed and stamina. His physique has evidently improved, a far cry from the scrawny frame of his youth. Through morphology training, which involves strength training without gains in muscle mass, Alcaraz’s team attests that he is now in his peak form, which allows him to mechanize his shots precisely and efficiently.
Nutrition also plays a huge part in Alcaraz’s training. His diet is based on real food. As much as possible, he doesn’t eat processed food; even the supplements he takes are based on real food. Since tennis is a high-performance sport, Alcaraz needs plenty of glycogen in his diet to function and get energy from, and lots of carbohydrates and fat. Finally, protein is needed as a recuperator and generator of muscle mass.
What about Alcaraz’s pre-match preparations? In an interview with Marca, the three-time ATP tournament winner says that he likes to take a nap and play chess. These aren’t as quirky as, say, Rafael Nadal lining up his water bottles or Bjorn Borg growing his “lucky beard,” but Alcaraz says that these rituals are key for recovery and help sharpen his mind. Although chess and tennis are two very different disciplines, Alcaraz explains that they’re both about forming the best strategies mentally to beat your opponent.
Speaking of Rafael Nadal, Alcaraz had the chance to train with his Spanish compatriot and World no. 4 during the build-up towards the Australian Open 2021. Alcaraz even took to social media to express his gratitude, calling his training sessions with Rafa an unforgettable, unique experience, claiming that it was more special than others.
So, what else is in store for Alcaraz? On April 24, 2022, he beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the finals at the Barcelona Open. This recent triumph shoots Alcaraz up 2 spots on the global rankings, from no. 11 to no. 9. Earlier this year, he won his first ATP 500 and Masters 1000 titles at the Rio Open and Miami Open, respectively. This makes him the youngest tennis player ever to break through the ATP top 10 tying Rafael Nadal’s record in 2005. He is also tied with Nadal and Andrey Rublev with the most titles on the ATP Tour this year. Added to these is his recent inclusion in the Rolex family, on top of his Nike and Babolat endorsements, which bring him to a net worth of around $1 million.
Alcaraz boasts a myriad of achievements others can only dream about at his age. Not bad for the once skinny kid who is now a part of the elite of world tennis.