Carlos Alcaraz is one of the more experienced 20-year-olds ever to compete on the ATP Tour, his precocious talent already earning him four ATP Masters 1000 titles, a US Open crown and several stints atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
But when it comes to grass, the Spaniard is still green.
Alcaraz entered the Cinch Championships with a 4-2 career record on the slick surface, but he’s now through to his first grass-court quarter-final at The Queen’s Club in London. As he builds his confidence on the lawns, he shared some insight into how he has developed his game.
In addition to watching videos to scout his opponents, Alcaraz has also been trying to emulate the likes of Roger Federer and Andy Murray in their grass-court movement.
“I want to look up to the best players on grass and movers. On grass, Roger and Andy for me are the best players that are moving great on grass. So I want to be the same, like them,” he said of the pair, who have 10 Wimbledon titles between them (eight for Federer, two for Murray).
Happy to be in the quarters of a grass tournament for the first time! 🌱🤩 Learning and having fun on this surface! 🥸🥳 Let’s go for more! 💥 @QueensTennis
📸 Getty pic.twitter.com/EmMGutX8yO
— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) June 22, 2023
While he also admires Djokovic’s grass-court prowess, the Spaniard thinks the four-time defending Wimbledon champion’s fancy footwork is a bridge too far, at least at this point in his career.
“I’m not talking about Djokovic because Djokovic slides like [on a] clay court,” added Alcaraz. “[That is] not my case, but I try to put similar stuff in my game that Roger and Andy does in grass.”
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Asked to expand on what he’s learned about moving on grass, he explained how it differs from navigating clay and hard courts.
“Moving on grass, as I said a few times, for me is the key of everything on grass. It’s the key if you are playing good or not,” Alcaraz said, noting that he has grown in confidence after two strong matches at the London ATP 500 event.
“You have to be more focused on the footwork here,” he continued. “I can’t slide as I do on clay or on hard court, so you have to know that and, practising from that part, you have to adapt your moves or your hit on grass.”