Carlos Alcaraz, the man called to try to fill the immense void that Rafa Nadal will one day leave in Spanish tennis, shone at night in Paris, where the Laureus Awards ceremony was held three years later in the sumptuous Pavillon Vendôme . In the City of Light, the Murcian will aspire in a few weeks to conquer the dream of Roland Garros, but for now, from the French capital he takes the recognition for Best New Sportsman of the Year, a well-deserved award for a 20-year-old prodigy who has recently turned He already boasts in his record a Grand Slam (US Open 2022) and four Masters 1,000 (Madrid 2022 and 2023, Miami 2022 and Indian Wells 2023).
«This award is the result of all the work of a team that is behind me when I am on the track. All the sacrifice and pain of hard times is worth it for them,” said the tennis player from El Palmar, called to mark an era, after receiving the award from the former Portuguese soccer player Luis Figo.
Before the gala he met the Argentine Leo Messi, who was the great winner of the gala. The Argentine forgot for a moment his delicate situation at Paris Saint-Germain and the rumors about his future that put him in the orbit of Saudi football and monopolized all the spotlights.
Messi won the second award of his career as Best International Male Athlete of the Year, after the one he won in 2020, and joins the exclusive roster made up of the three best tennis players in history, Roger Federer (5), Novak Djokovic (4) and Rafael Nadal (2); Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt (4); the American golfer Tiger Woods (2) and the German Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher (2), all of them multi-awarded at the Laureus. In addition, the Argentine team that the ’10’ led in the World Cup in Qatar towards the third crown in its history saw the milestone recognized with the Best Team of the Year award, closing the circle for the Rosario.
a brief encounter
Alcaraz, accompanied by his family in Paris, had a brief meeting with Messi at the event’s photocall. Both greeted each other and exchanged a few words between great gestures of admiration. The images were collected by the photographers present there and it meant a beautiful crossing of worlds between two great soccer and tennis athletes.
After the party, Alcaraz is already focused on what comes from now on. There is no time for too many celebrations, because this Friday he will debut at the Masters 1000 in Rome with several open fronts. It will be its premiere at the Foro Italico. Last year he decided not to play in the eternal city after winning in Madrid to rest and do exhaustive preparation for Roland Garros. “Better to rest and be 100% in Paris,” said the tennis player from El Palmar at that time.
Like last year, Alcaraz comes from playing Indian Wells, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid in just a month and a half. Fatigue played a trick on him in 2022 and that is why he decided to do without the historic Roman tournament. This year the shadow of doubt hung over the environment, but the player himself was in charge of clearing it: “I am ambitious and we are going to go for Rome.” Alcaraz does not defend any point in Italy, so everything will add up for him.
assault on number one
Just by stepping on Roman soil, the Murcian will earn ten ATP points, and will surpass Novak Djokovic at the top of the table. The Serbian, however, defends the title and will not score any points. Therefore, Alcaraz faces the appointment as a golden opportunity to distance himself from the Serb. He will also do it as the top favorite in another tournament without Rafa Nadal. The tournament in Rome ends on May 21, and on the 22nd the ATP ranking will be updated where the last winner of the US Open will recover the number one in the world to the detriment of Djokovic. Then he will have a week of active rest for the big event of the clay court tour and that Carlos Alcaraz, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic have marked in red on their calendars: Roland Garros.
fear of fatigue
Alcaraz comes from playing Indian Wells, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid in just a month and a half
For the first time in the last 20 years, Nadal will not be the top favorite to defend his title on clay in Paris. The Spaniard, if he finally disputes the Grand Slam, as it seems he will, except for reasons of force majeure, will physically arrive between cotton wool and without any previous preparation tournament on clay. The current number 14 in the world could play against Alcaraz or Djokovic in the third round or eighth, a situation that added to his constant physical problems reduce the percentage of options to win back his favorite tournament.
Paris dictates sentence
The Parisian tournament is special because it will be the first opportunity for a tiebreaker in Grand Slams between Djokovic and Nadal: both have 22. The Serbian won in Australia, and although he does not arrive in the best physical condition due to recent wrist discomfort caused by miss Madrid, will be together with the Murcian the great candidate for the title.
All these conditions put Carlos Alcaraz in an advantageous position to achieve something great in the capital of France and dream of lifting the Musketeers Cup, and thus close an impeccable clay-court tour after winning in Barcelona and Madrid.
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