Tennis Prose




Jan/24

24

What Happened To Carlos?

All the sudden the heir apparent to the GOAT throne looks like a second rater. Right now he’s down 61 64 54 to Alexander Zverev in the AO quarterfinals, an opponent he’s handled easily in the past.

The world no. 2 has strangely declined a fraction or two since his Wimbledon 2023 triumph and not lived up to the outrageously crazy expectations of the tennis establishment media, which basically said he’s already better and more complete than Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

It has to be an impossible level for the 20 year old to have to live up to – the expectations of having to win 25 Grand Slams. Every tournament he goes to, he has to win. That’s what the tennis media establishment believed.

But if he loses this match to Zverev, it would be a catastrophic failure.

Longtime coach Juan Carlos Ferrero is not with Alcaraz at this AO (supposedly just had a knee surgery) and John McEnroe said that should not be a problem because he could just text his instructions during the match to his assistant coaches who are in the box.

The player box of Carlos is filled to the rim. But what do they all do? Are they all hanger-ons? You see some players have one or two people in their box. Carlos supporting almost a dozen people could be a distraction. A former no. 1 player in the world should not be distracted by an over-sized entourage.

Wearing the Nike sleeveless shirt, you can see an imbalance now in Carlos physique, his right arm and shoulder are considerably bigger, stronger and more developed than his left shoulder. His body is clearly imbalanced.

Carlos just won the third set tiebreaker 7-2 from 1-2 down, with his signature spectacular, dynamic shotmaking, and suddenly looks like the real Carlos Alcaraz again. John McEnroe said he thinks Carlos is now the favorite to win this match.

We’ll see how this match plays out. If Carlos has the magical power to snap his finger and turn himself back into Super Carlos, just when a skeptic like your’s truly, was prematurely starting to shovel his burial…

Update: Pavvy G, a popular tennis analyst and commentator on X, said this about the struggles of Carlos…

Reasons why the Alcaraz Era hasn’t panned out as expected;

1. Other players are figuring out how to play and do well against him.

2. Alcaraz is starting to lose the longer rallies, maybe lack of concentration or wanting to finish point with a flashy shot.

3. Thinking a lot about how to beat Djokovic and has forgotten how to beat other top players.

4. Immense pressure, hype and expectations starting to become a burden.

5. Believing in own hype, players are no longer bowing down to him and think they can beat him as oppose to just compete with him.

6. Is lacking a big serve, so important for any elite player.

7. His game has become a little predictable needs to change things up especially when returning. Standing in same position makes it easier for the server.

8. Needs to be able to grind out messy matches and adapt and play ugly if needed.

Carlos Alcaraz art work by Ted Dimond

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12 comments

  • Matt Segel · January 25, 2024 at 5:24 pm

    Well…. he was playing very well until this match. It has to be pressure. It seems”easier” to rise to the top then to stay there. He also seems to talk about huge goals and accomplishments which can also add to the pressure he puts on himself.

    There also seems to be a desire to be flashy and living up to the flashy image.

    That’s what makes sports so interesting, we can all surmise the problem with the second ranked player in the world.

    I did see his record after 200 matches was better than everyone else in tennis history, so there is that.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 25, 2024 at 8:46 pm

    Matt, also his bonuses for winning US Open and Wimbledon and being no. 1 surely earned him huge bonuses from Nike and Babolat. In 2014, after winning AO, Stan Wawrinka struck a four-year $20 million deal with sports equipment manufacturer, Yonex. In 1998 after achieving no. 1 ranking Marcelo Rios got $2.5 bonuses each from Nike and Yonex, so in today’s dollars I would guess Carlos got over $5m maybe $8m each from Nike Babolat, on top of the prize money. Also contract extensions. So maybe his fire and desire have lost a fraction. He is definitely not the same player he was after Wimbledon last summer.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 25, 2024 at 9:18 pm

    On a sidenote, Who remembers in 2016 Zhang Shuai reached QF of Australian Open. She had lost all 14 of her major first round matches previously and was about to give up her career. You never give up. Wayne Arthurs qualified for his first Grand Slam in 1998 at US Open, his 17th attempt in qualifying.

  • Sam · January 26, 2024 at 8:12 pm

    Always a great day when two establishment darlings get sent packing! ๐Ÿงณ ๐Ÿ˜น

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 27, 2024 at 7:40 am

    Curious how the establishment has given up on Carlos already.

  • Sam · January 31, 2024 at 8:11 pm

    Scoop, they’ve really given up on him? ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 1, 2024 at 7:31 am

    It certainly seems so, the establishment has ended the “Carlos Era” and now it’s suddenly the “Sinner Era.” They have toned down the Carlos is GOAT rhetoric, that is for sure.

  • Sam · February 5, 2024 at 8:52 pm

    It seems the establishment is the kiss of death to whoever they’re promoting. ๐Ÿ˜

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 6, 2024 at 8:06 am

    Curious to see how Sinner responds now that the ATP has appointed him as the next goat, now he will have the giant X on his back and the expectation to win every tournament he goes to. He seems more introvert than extrovert and he may not like to have all the extra pressure and extra workload to do a 1000 more interviews every month, answering the same questions over and over and over… Most players prefer to hang in the background in the second tier echelon of ATP (same for WTA). We’ll see if Sinner really wants to be the man and be the face of tennis for the next 5-10 years. I don’t think so. It’s not easy or fun having to act perfect with a perfect image every minute of your life in the public eye.

  • Sam · February 10, 2024 at 6:44 am

    Curious to see how Sinner responds now that the ATP has appointed him as the next goat

    Yeah, that’s the big question.

    Most players prefer to hang in the background in the second tier echelon of ATP (same for WTA).

    That’s probably how I’d be too.

    Weโ€™ll see if Sinner really wants to be the man and be the face of tennis for the next 5-10 years. I donโ€™t think so. Itโ€™s not easy or fun having to act perfect with a perfect image every minute of your life in the public eye.

    Frankly, I think it would be torture. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 10, 2024 at 8:01 am

    Sam, would never want to live in a politically correct fishbowl. Watching how Sinner evolves will be interesting.

  • Sam · February 13, 2024 at 11:50 pm

    Yes, Scoop, it should be. I kinda feel sorry for him actually. ๐Ÿค’ As Sinead O’Connor once put it: “Fame is a curse.”

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