Hailing from the Murcia region of Spain, clay court specialist Alcaraz has naturally drawn comparisons to compatriot and idol Nadal.
But while 19-year-old Alcaraz has a lot of respect for the player he looked up to as a kid, Alcaraz doesn’t want to be called ‘the next Nadal’ or ‘mini Nadal’. his fledgling career.
He has certainly come a long way already to achieve that.
After winning their first ATP title in 2021, Alcalaz will go even further in 2022, winning four titles, including two Masters 1000 tournaments, pushing their rankings to No. 4 in the world.
“So I mean two Masters 1000 titles, one on hard courts, one on clay courts, and it all came very quickly,” he told CNN’s Don Liddell in May.
“So if someone told me at the beginning of the season that I was going to make these tournaments, I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe him. For me No, I know what to say about an incredible moon for me.
“It’s good when people talk about you and watch your games. For me it’s pretty good. But playing against the best players in the world in the best stadiums gives me a lot of power. It gives, so that’s pretty cool to me.”
He made a sensational appearance at this year’s French Open and was considered by many to be one of the favorites to win, but lost to Zverev in the quarterfinals.
Now, in New York, he has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time, and the highest-ranked man in the draw will be the frontrunner to win the first major title of his career.
“It feels great to reach my first Grand Slam semi-final,” Alcaraz said after beating Janek Sinner in five sets. “It feels good to be in the semifinals at the US Open…This tournament is amazing. The crowd is amazing. I would say the best in the world. I mean, the energy I got on this court at 3am was amazing. Incredible. do not have.”
Five years older than Alcaraz, Tiafoe won his first ATP title in 2018 and many believed the win would spark a rapid rise to the top.
Still touted as a rising star, his rise has been steady rather than meteoric. Tiafoe reached a career-high world ranking of No. It shows the spark of quality that was expected to lead it to the top.
But arguably, given Tiafoe’s disappointing performances heading into the US Open, there were no signs of him making a big splash in New York. But the blockbuster Washington, D.C. native has made numerous references to how Arthur Ashe’s home support propelled him to new heights.
Tiafoe’s quarterfinal win made him the first black man since Ashe in 1972 to reach the semifinals of the US Open.
His father, Constant Tiafoe, began working at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in Washington in 1999, eventually moving to one of the empty warehouses while working around the clock.
His two twin boys, Frances and Franklin, sometimes slept with him on the massage table while their mother worked the night shift as a nurse.
An unconventional entrance into the sport gave Tiafoe the opportunity to start honing her skills, and once she started training at the facility, she never looked back.
“Obviously, I wasn’t a rich kid, and I didn’t have all the new stuff. But I was just living my life. I played my favorite sport, tennis, for free. I was able to,” he told CNN Sports in 2015. He added that he wouldn’t change his upbringing for the sake of the world.
He was asked Wednesday what message people should draw from his story.
“I mean, honestly, anyone can do it,” he said, adding that his passion and obsession is tennis. “Obviously it’s a cliché, but if you’re really passionate about something… I think everyone has a gift.”
Alcalaz are expending a lot of energy right now, providing a great opportunity for the Americans to keep running, and are sure to win the support of the home crowd.
After the game, Tiafoe told reporters: “For sure it gets emotional. Seeing people scream your name and love what you do. It’s great. It’s everything,’ he said.
“You know, everyone loves Cinderella stories. [I’m] I’m just trying to make “