Tim Henman has hailed Carlos Alcaraz’s Miami Open triumph as a ‘huge moment in our sport’ and believes the ‘sky is the limit’ in terms of how many big titles the Spaniard will win in the future.
The 18-year-old became the youngest male player to lift the Butch Buchholz Trophy in the event's 37-year history following a 7-5 6-4 success over world No. 8 Casper Ruud.
It follows hot on the heels of him becoming the youngest ATP 500 champion in series history at the Rio Open in February, and his semi-final appearance at Indian Wells.
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There is a growing feeling in the tennis world that a new force has finally emerged and former British No. 1, Henman did not hold back in his effusive praise of a player who will stand at No. 11 in the world rankings from Monday.
“It was an incredible performance,” said Henman on Amazon Prime. “These are images (of Alcaraz celebrating a Masters 1000 title) that we are going to see many more times in the future. All aspects of his game have been absolutely incredible. You look at how quickly he’s developed. He’s still only 18, so to see him perform at this level, how aware he is and the attitude on the court – he’s just dealing with everything thrown at him and he was in a different league out there today.
It’s a huge moment for Alcaraz and a huge moment in our sport.
He added: “When you break down his game and with him being so young still, there are areas he can improve on and that’s the scary element. His rise has been so quick and if he continues with this attitude and game style it’s frightening to think how many big titles he’s going to win.
This is his first Masters 1000. You’d say hard court is not his preferred surface, so moving forward the sky really is the limit.
“There’s been such dominance of that Big 3. You throw (Andy) Murray and (Stan) Wawrinka into that equation but that group is getting older and won’t be around forever. We’ve been thinking of who will step in and take advantage. (Alexander) Zverev, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas, (Dominic Thiem), (Felix) Auger-Aliassime… There have been a lot of them in and around the conversation. But when you see Alcaraz put in a performance like this and the way he has been developing, he’s just getting better and better. He has that confidence, maturity and belief in his game to give him the opportunity to win more and more in the future.
“He’s going to win so many of these big titles, that’s for sure.”
Former world No. 5 Daniela Hantuchova was equally impressed and went as far as to suggest he could well be the heir to Rafael Nadal’s Roland Garros throne much sooner than anyone has been expecting.
“The most impressive thing is his attitude,” she said. “You see how confident and calm he was towards the end of the match. He is a legend in the making. The scary thing is the clay court season is coming up. To me he is looking like the Roland Garros favourite already. It feels like every single week he steps on court, he is getting better and better.”
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