Tennis Prose



Ex ATP Champ On The Big Upset: “I’m already tired of watching Carlos”

By Scoop Malinowski

One of the biggest upsets in tennis history happened today when in Rome, the unknown world no. 135 playing in his first ATP World Tour event, managed to defeat the top player in the world Carlos Alcaraz 63 76. So such a shocking upset is provoking lots of chatter and speculation about how such a rare, monumental surprise could actually happen.

One former ATP Champion shared his interesting insights and observations about the match today that the entire tennis world is buzzing about: “Pressure is mounting on Carlos. He is no longer the underdog, he is expected to win and crowds will support the underdog. He is still very young (age 20) and was more or less always in the underdog role except against pushovers.”

“And to be honest, I am already getting tired of watching Carlos, except for when he is being pushed hard or if he loses. I cannot imagine I am the only one. I prefer to watch Holger Rune or lower ranked players who get the crowd excited like Bublik.”

This former ATP Champion who played over two decades of pro tennis suggested more threats to the Alcaraz supremacy will emerge in the future months and years. “Other guys who mature later will come. Look at this (Fabian) Marozsan – he’s already 23 and I never heard of him before. How many Grand Slams did they expect Zverev to win by now?”

It’s only one match and one loss. But when extreme oddity results happen like this Marozsan defeating Alcaraz, you begin to wonder if the tennis establishment is blowing up the balloon of Alcaraz too fast? Are they pushing too hard to maximize his popularity and marketing value without letting it happen naturally and organically – the same errors made with Capriati and Coco?

All this talk about Alcaraz being better at 19 than Nadal, Federer and Djokovic and Reilly Opelka saying last week there’s nobody who can beat Carlos may be creating a fictional legend myth that is simply impossible for any 20 year old kid to live up to.

Who remembers the premature rise and fall of 20 year old Iron Mike Tyson?

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  • Matt Segel · May 15, 2023 at 9:38 pm

    Let’s not forget he just won Madrid and Barcelona and Indian Wells and is 30-3 on the season!

    I liked his comments about the loss. He said he was healthy and yeah he didn’t play his best but it was because his opponent didn’t let him. No excuses.

    He is not like Zverev because he won the US Open on his first attempt. He is already a legend. Most wins ALL Time in first 150 matches.

    He is a special talent and if he stopped playing because of some horrible injury, I would say that he is a Hall of Fame player who could have been the greatest.

    It’s sport and this sounds like Fabian played the match of his life. Carlos said he played inside the baseline and his level never dropped off. I mean he pulled it off. Most players who attempt this would have lost the tie break and the third set, but he went for it.

    Fabian is a professional athlete and like the cliche goes… on any given Sunday.

    Yeah he has been hyped up, but so was Fed, Novak and Rafa. Johnny Mac called Fed the greatest of all time after like 2 grand slams.

    The Novak thing might be something, but let’s see how the French Open goes.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 16, 2023 at 7:28 am

    Matt, someone told me both Carlos parents were there, which is rare, so maybe it was more of a family vacation warmup tournament for Carlos and a subconscious tank. Also, it’s the fourth time Carlos and Novak have been in the same draw and Carlos loses early, perhaps as one suggested Carlos is ducking Novak. Also Marozsan was 2000-1 underdog. So lots of things to consider here.

  • catherine · May 17, 2023 at 5:48 am

    Another rivalry developing: Swiatek and Rybakina play again today.Elena is ahead and Patrick M has the answers. (From Tennis Majors)


    Patrick Mouratoglou explains that if Iga Swiatek has lost three times in a row to Elena Rybakina, there is a tactical reason and a mental reason.
    The French coach draws a parallel with the men’s circuit and the clashes between Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. One’s style of tennis posed more problems for another, and it is the same between Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina.
    ‘In order to be comfortable, the Polish player needs to dictate the rallies and dominate the court, but against the Kazakh, she can’t do it.
    Elena Rybakina puts too much pressure on her on the return of serve and is very aggressive in the rallies: the perfect tactic to cause problems for the world No 1.’

    Sounds simple but accurate and my bet will be on Elena. Swiatek has to find a new mindset. I’m waiting for PM to invite Iga to his tennis centre for some special coaching (:

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 17, 2023 at 7:28 am

    Very important match for Iga to get Rybakina off her back. Maybe it reminds of Hingis being swept aside from the top by losing repeatedly to Davenport. I still remember after one of the repeated losses Hingis broke down and confessed on court in the interview that she just couldn’t beat Davenport anymore, she was too powerful. I don’t think she ever did beat Davenport again in an important match. It feels almost like Iga is in a similar desperate situation vs Rybakina.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 17, 2023 at 9:04 pm

    Catherine, my guess is Iga blew the second set tiebreaker and tried to surge ahead in the third but when she couldn’t gain a lead over Rybakina she decided a draw (2-2 in the third) was good enough and better than another loss to Rybakina. It’s psyche warfare. I don’t think Rybakina believed the injury as she questioned the severity of it. What is your take?

  • catherine · May 18, 2023 at 2:02 am

    I think Iga has some kind of injury, which isn’t terribly surprising the way she plays, and decided 2-2 was as far as she wanted to go. So yes, she retired and left the result as a draw.

    I’d be bothered about Paris if I were Iga. Could be wrong but I can’t see her winning this year. Did you see she left her phone on and it rang during play, causing a distraction ? She was agitated and losing concentration.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see a change in her team some time this year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2023 at 7:13 am

    Catherine, I think she fabricated the injury to protect her ego and image from another loss to Rybakina. She now has three losses to Rybakina, Ostapenko and Sabalenka. The phone stunt was curious too, no reaction by media. Remember when the media thought Zverev had a phone in his tennis bag and villified him for it, then later found out it was some kind of diabetes device? Equality huh? Equality is the biggest sham scam in sports.

  • catherine · May 18, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Iga also dislikes playing at night and the conditions generally in Rome this year so just gave it up. Media didn’t seem to notice the phone incident although I saw a mention of it from someone who was watching the match. To me, that sent a message Iga was anxious and not concentrating. She doesn’t normally do things like that.

    ‘Fabricated’ or not the result was the same. Rome doesn’t rank high compared to Paris. Not worth the risk or the effort for someone of Swiatek’s ambitions and/or age.

    As I said, I expect to see changes in her team before long.

    BTW Penko did a net hug. Now that was a surprise.

  • catherine · May 18, 2023 at 11:29 am

    PS to my comment. I thought this was interesting from Elena on how she saw Iga’s injury from her own experience:

    “I saw something happen in the tiebreak, on almost the last point but I didn’t know how serious it is,” Rybakina said. “I saw that the first two games she started really aggressive so I understood that she couldn’t really move that much but she was still making good returns and I knew that I had to be focused. I know myself that if anything is hurting you’re trying to go for it and a lot of times it works. So she probably did the same, but after, I guess it was too much.”

    (WTA report)

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2023 at 5:22 pm

    Catherine, I think it’s possible Iga may have choreographed that whole phone ring thing in the match to try to disconcert Rybakina. Looked like a contrived act by the way she handled it and her reactions and the motive was there to distract Rybakina. I understand the ring didn’t happen till late in the match – no phone rings the whole time? When the ATP player told me he had a fan blow a noisemaker device in Davis Cup on break point in third set vs Rios which caused a double fault and changed the whole match, I believe it’s possible players will use creativity to try anything to try to turn a match to their favor.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2023 at 5:24 pm

    Catherine, yes I read those quotes by Rybakina and she seems to harbor some skepticism about the authenticity of the Iga injury production. At least that’s my interpretation of Rybakina’s thoughts.

  • catherine · May 19, 2023 at 3:35 am

    Not sure about the phone. Iga seemed to forget where she’d put it which to me signalled anxiety and muddle. Unusual for her.

    Elena’s beaten Swiatek 3 times. She knows how to play her.

    As for the injury, I think Elena was explaining how she reacted to whatever happened in the tiebreak and used her own experience to figure out her response. Then, as she says, for Iga to try to push herself and finish the match, it was ‘too much’.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2023 at 6:56 am

    Catherine, a lot was riding on that match, Iga was desperate to win, to prove Rybakina does not own her. So the motive was there to try everything at her disposal, fake injury, fake phone drama. Now Iga has closed the gap on Rybakina, she didn’t really lose, she earned draw. Going into RG with a draw with Rybakina is much better than having lost to her three times in a row.

  • catherine · May 19, 2023 at 12:05 pm

    Scoop – is everything in tennis ‘fake’ ?

    I’m going to pretend it isn’t and see how that works out.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    Catherine, a former world heavyweight champion once told me “boxing is 90 percent bluffs.” I believe the same percentages apply to tennis. )

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