Because Carlos Alcaraz is stronger than Jannik Sinner. The Spaniard is already a top 5 in pectore – OA Sport

Italy has been desperately looking for a Messiah in tennis for over four decades. The story of Gianluigi Quinzi is sadly known, while the expectations towards him appear much more concrete Jannik Sinner, at the age of 20 capable of pushing himself up to position 9 in the ATP ranking. However, it is undeniable that the last few weeks are consecrating the one who must be considered as the World tennis messiahor Carlos Alcaraz.

Two years younger than Sinner (Spanish born in 2003, Italian in 2001), today the Iberian is superior to our standard bearer. Not a little. Something had already been guessed at the end of 2021 in the Masters1000 of Paris-Bercy, when the Murciano won in the direct clash for 7-6 (1), 7-5. In truth, the two had already faced each other in a Challenger in Alicante in 2019: even at the time, a 16-year-old Alcaraz won in three sets on clay.

And to say that the Spaniard has made great strides in just a few weeks. He is a complete player, apparently without any weaknesses. He is deadly both on the forehand and on the backhand, he impresses with his solidity from the baseline, he is good at varying the game, he knows how to make short balls with precision and naturalness and even at the net he seems at ease. A few months ago the Achilles heel was represented by the service, however the gap was quickly filled. Maybe something is still missing in the defensive phase, where Alcaraz is not (yet…) Nadal, but we can bet that he will improve also in this respect.

The big difference with Sinner? The basic talent in the execution of some hits. The Iberian can count on a dexterity, on a ‘touch’ that the Italian does not have: there is little to go around it. The South Tyrolean is too hard both at the net and in the execution of the short balls, we would almost dare to say that sometimes he seems to be denied. And to say that he tries, good will is not lacking. He is working on it, in some ways he has also improved. Yet certain blows for him will never be natural, but built. It must be said that Nadal and Djokovic themselves were certainly not monsters at the beginning of their career in the flying game: they improved over time, as Sinner can do. It will take years and patience, however it is undeniable how Alcaraz starts two steps above, precisely because it is already complete in all the fundamentals.

And what about the physical aspect? The Spaniard, in the wake of his compatriot Rafael Nadal, has focused a lot on explosiveness: in winter, in the space of a few weeks, underwent a profound bodily mutation, acquiring incredible muscle mass for a boy just over 18. Resistance is another of the almost 19-year-old’s secrets (he will perform them on May 5th): he has already shown that he can handle the five sets and the many close matches very well. Moreover, another big difference with Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, for now, has never had to deal with physical problems. In this respect, on the contrary, Italian appears much more fragile and frail: the blister on his right foot that forced him to retire in Miami is just the latest episode in a long list.

In conclusion: currently Alcaraz is not only superior to Sinner, but practically all the tennis players on the circuit. Today the Spaniard would start at a disadvantage only in the presence of compatriot Rafael Nadal and Serbian Novak Djokovic, although he can already worry both of them now (and not a little …). Against all the others, including the Russian Daniil Medvedev, the Iberian would start at least on an equal footing. This means that it should already be considered a top5 in pectorea goal that, at this rate, it is easy to predict that he will reach by the end of 2022. Alcaraz is a complete player on all surfaces (on hard courts, at the same age, Nadal was not so strong) and can win a Grand Slam already in this season: maybe not Roland Garros (where the compatriot of Manacor will be the man to beat) or Wimbledon (on the grass is still to be discovered, but he does not lack the weapons to do well), perhaps the US Open. He is the tennis player who most seems to be able to follow the exploits of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, with the difference that at the moment there are no opponents of the same level. The Italians hope that one of these can become Jannik Sinner. Maybe. Today it’s hard to believe, but life has accustomed us to surprises …

Photo: Lapresse

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