Carlos Alcaraz: Spanish teen shattering age records in Rio

andrew hendrie /
Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz made headlines in Rio de Janeiro after becoming the first player born in 2003 to win a tour-level match - get to know the rising Spanish sensation more.

In one of the more impressive displays you’ll ever see from a 16-year-old, Alcaraz outlasted World No. 42 Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a deciding set tiebreak in his ATP debut. The match lasted a whopping three hours and 36 minutes and finished at 3.00am local time in Rio.

“I will remember Rio forever,” Alcaraz said. “I am very happy to win my first ATP Tour match. This has been the longest and most intense match I’ve played so far. There were quite difficult conditions, but if you have the right attitude, the conditions don’t matter. You can achieve anything.”

Inevitable comparisons to his idol Rafael Nadal have already been drawn, but Alcaraz thinks his game is more similar to that of another legend.

”I like to play very aggressively, with a lot of winners. My style is more or less like Roger Federer’s, aggressively coming to the net and playing a lot of drop shots,” Alcaraz said.

Set to almost completely bypass the Junior Circuit as he swiftly climbs the ATP ranks (he’s already the youngest player ranked inside the top 500), Alcaraz has been busy creating age records over the last 12 months.

Last year, the then-15-year-old became the first player born in 2003 to win a Challenger match when he beat current Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner in Alicante, while the following week in Murcia, he became just the fifth player aged 15 and under to conquer a top 200 player in the last two decades.

With his win over Ramos-Vinolas in Rio, the 16-year-old is the youngest player to beat someone ranked in the top 50 since Richard Gasquet overcame Feliciano Lopez back in 2003 in Marseille.

Alcaraz has already climbed 93 spots in the live ATP rankings to No. 313 courtesy of his opening round win in Rio – and if he can beat Argentine qualifier Federico Coria to make the quarter-finals, he’s projected to rise to around No. 265.

The Spaniard is coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero, who became World No. 1 and won the French Open the year Alcaraz was born in 2003.

”When I spend time with tennis greats like Rafa or Ferrero or any other player, I don’t say anything. I listen to everything they say because it is very valuable to me,” Alcaraz said. “In each tournament I go to, I try to do my best. If that happens, then I will gradually go up.”

?? Carlos Alcaraz ?? Fast Facts

Age: 16
Current ranking: No. 406
Birthplace: El Palmar, Murcia, Spain
Residence: El Palmar, Murcia, Spain
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 72kg
Coach: Juan Carlos Ferrero

– Started playing tennis at age 4
– Favourite shot is forehand
– Favourite tournament is Roland Garros
– Idol is Rafael Nadal
– Favourite football team is Real Madrid
– First player born in 2003 to win Challenger and ATP match
– First player since Richard Gasquet in 2003 to beat a top 50 player