Tennis Prose



Becker Says Carlos Puzzle Has Been Figured Out

Former world no. 1 and coach of ATP no. 8 Holger Rune, Boris Becker told Eurosport he believes the puzzle of how to play ATP no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz has been solved by several players…

“Dueling with Djokovic, becoming No. 1 in the world and winning Wimbledon for the first time – maintaining this level is the most difficult thing in tennis. Anyone can have a good tournament or a good year from time to time, but maintaining that level over the years is the real challenge. My favorite saying in this context is, ‘The locker room never sleeps.’ It means that the other players have realized how you have to play against Alcaraz to have a chance against him. That’s what happened. Other players have developed and Alcaraz hasn’t. He continues to play fantastic tennis. I love watching him play tennis at its best with his footwork, his variation, his serve and his forehand. But the top players have adapted to this and know how to counter it. I’m convinced that Alcaraz will now train something new or different with Juan Carlos Ferrero in the winter and improve.”

Alcaraz won six ATP titles this year, including Wimbledon, and achieved a 65-12 match record. However he finished the year 7-5 in his last 12 matches after US Open semifinal run (loss to Medvedev) with losses to Dimitrov, Djokovic, Zverev, Safiullin, and Sinner.

Artwork by Ted Dimond



  • Cyndy · November 28, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Scoop Malinowski — is it really solved ?? Although Alcaraz has been beaten this year there’s no saying that he could and should emerge stronger and as you have rightfully said that he will train something new and different with his coach for the next season. He must’ve totally been shocked as it must’ve been difficult to fathom for him since he thought no one could beat him after he beat Djokovic at Wimbledon. But now with silent Sinner’s wonderful run at the Davis cup in Malaga it may mean Alcaraz can yet have fierce competition again only it ain’t Djokovic!

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 28, 2023 at 2:26 pm

    Cyndy, It’s unlikely Carlos has peaked at 20. We saw Agassi falter after some tough losses to Sampras in majors but he would later bounce back and reach a new high level. That one US Open F loss to Pete in 95 or 96 was especially damaging. Carlos may need to make a coaching team change or addition and get a new voice and new ideas. Ferrero has done a phenomenal job to this point. If Carlos is locked in with Ferrero for long term that could become a hindrance. The ridiculous pressure and expectation by the tennis media and establishment on Carlos has also been a handicap, by calling him the future greatest of all time, he now has to live up to an impossible image.

  • Sam · November 28, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    I don’t necessarily think Alcaraz has peaked, but I’m a little skeptical that he’ll be able to win 27+ Slams as so many have predicted. a😉

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 28, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    No chance for 25. He has soured on the sport to some degree, too much expected of him. He goes to every tournament and is expected to win every title because he’s the next goat. That’s sapped some of the joy of playing. Everyone is better as the underdog, which Carlos no longer is.

  • Matt Segel · November 28, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    But, Novak went three years between GS 1 and 2. Now granted he was not in the spotlight like Carlos, but maybe Sinner , Novak and someone else gets a GS next year and those struggles push Carlos to dig deeper and get tougher. I think he is a phenomenal athlete and I really think he will have a fantastic career, just needs to learn the mental side a little more, maybe, i mean 2 GS and 5(4?) masters… he is really impressive. Fast indoor hard courts might not be his best surface yet. They are Sinners, so the hype may be a little high right now for JS.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 28, 2023 at 8:22 pm

    Matt, agree, Carlos is a marvel, a wonder of the tennis world. I truly believe he subconsciously stepped off the gas after Wimbledon and Cincy to try to reduce the impossible expectations people like Navratilova and others built up for him. I think he coasted the last few months and will return with new energy and motivation for 2024. And now he’s back into underdog role with Djokovic and Sinner now the top two guns.

  • Cyndy · December 6, 2023 at 12:21 am

    Scoop Malinowski— sportsmanship of the year award —- your thoughts? Why is it that Djokovic has never been included… he’s number one as well… everyone seems to want to bring about his downfall by badly tainting him….the ATP body should be called out …why are they behaving in this manner…so obvious in how they have treated Djokovic thus far even the he has won matches par excellence.., I really hope that they will be known for their insidious ways come AusOpen as one can’t wait that long now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 6, 2023 at 6:48 am

    Cyndy, why you ask is Djokovic cheated out of the sportsmanship award? Because Federer and Nadal and the tennis deep state do not want him to win it. They want to try to control Djokovic’s public image and make it negative. So giving Djokovic the sportsmanship award that he has deservedly earned beyond any doubt, is not going to happen. At least as long as the current regime is in charge.

  • Cyndy · December 6, 2023 at 11:33 am

    Scoop Malinowski— in a way it doesn’t really matter if he doesn’t ever get that award as compared to him winning more masters and slam titles. Yes I agree with you on Federer/Nadal wanting to control Djokovics’s public image which can be seen all over on social.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 6, 2023 at 12:43 pm

    Cyndy, Djokovic doesn’t need a phony establishment award to tell the public he’s the greatest sportsman in the sport today. Everybody well informed with common sense knows what Djokovic does to help lower ranked struggling players and his efforts to change the system and shift the balance of power to help struggling pros. They also know Djokovic is the greatest sportsman of all the top champions of the sport, despite a few imperfect moments of frustration and anger. And as my Facing Djokovic book illustrates he is the most authentic of the big four by far. Fedal were very good for tennis but they’ve been eclipsed by a greater champion.

  • Sam · December 9, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    The ATP “sportsmanship” award is worth about as much as some used chewing gum. 😏

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 9, 2023 at 4:15 pm

    Yes, the sportsmanship award is infiltrated by unfair play, agendas and favoritism. Gasquet, Lopez, Monfils, Raonic, Kei, Bopanna, Agut, Busta, Isner all deserve it also.

  • Sam · December 12, 2023 at 8:14 pm

    They should just rename the award to “The ATP Useless Generic Popularity Award.” 😜

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 13, 2023 at 8:09 am

    Sam, the ATP is too influenced by Federer. Now that Federer controls Shelton, keep an eye on the big establishment push behind Shelton to promote his popularity. He’s the ATP’s Coco. Hopefully everything he achieves in 2024 will be authentic and properly earned.

  • Sam · December 15, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    Hopefully everything he achieves in 2024 will be authentic and properly earned.

    Well, Scoop, if they could pull some strings for Coco, they might well try something similar for him.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 16, 2023 at 8:06 am

    Sam, for sure expect big things by Shelton this year with Fed and Godsick running the show. You can see it coming a hundred miles away. Shelton is designated by the establishment for superstardom.



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