Wimbledon: Alcaraz turns to tapes of Federer to learn how to master grass

By Sports Desk June 26, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz has been checking out footage of Wimbledon greats including Roger Federer as he bids to sharpen up his raw grass-court game.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz has shot up to number seven in the ATP rankings after winning four titles this year, having begun 2022 outside the top 30.

However, he has little in the way of pedigree on grass, having been stopped in his tracks in round two last year by Daniil Medvedev, winning just seven games.

Of his titles this year, three have come on clay and one on a hard court.

Alcaraz reached the quarter-finals of the Wimbledon boys' singles in 2019, losing to American Martin Damm, and regardless of his recent stellar form, it is difficult to predict how he might fare in London this year.

It is clear that Alcaraz believes he can learn to play on the grass, and that he will pull out all the stops to become a champion on the fast lawns of London, beginning on Monday.

"I'm trying to copy some things from the best ones," he said. "I always watch videos: Federer, [Novak] Djokovic, Rafa [Nadal] and Andy [Murray] as well, trying to copy the moves."

That quartet has dominated at Wimbledon for two decades now. The last player not from that group to win the men's singles was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002, with Federer landing eight titles, Djokovic six, Nadal two and Murray two.

Federer is the only one of Wimbledon's 'Big Four' absent this year; knee trouble preventing him taking part.

Alcaraz, who is seeded fifth, predicted this Wimbledon will be a "tough" assignment in his own fledgling career.

However, seeing fellow Spaniard Nadal get to grips with grass early in his own career has instructed Alcaraz it is a surface that he should not fear.

Nadal was 22 when he won the first of his Wimbledon titles, and 20 when he first reached a final at the All England Club.

Alcaraz is not entirely ruling out challenging this year, because that is how he approaches every event he enters.

He will start on Monday against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff, with that match given a prestigious Court One billing, such is Alcaraz's rising status.

"Of course, watching Rafa – I would say he is more for clay courts – winning so many tournaments on grass, winning twice here in Wimbledon, you'd think that you are able to adapt your game to grass courts," Alcaraz told a news conference on Sunday.

"But I would say I have a game that is going to adapt well on grass, trying to go to the net, playing aggressive.

"I would say I'm able to play well on grass, and it was said I couldn't prepare well for Wimbledon this year, but I always come to every tournament thinking I'm able to do good results or even able to win the tournament."

Related items

  • Carreno-Busta mounts comeback to stun Hurkacz in Canadian Open final Carreno-Busta mounts comeback to stun Hurkacz in Canadian Open final

    Pablo Carreno-Busta came back from a set down to mount a superb comeback against Hubert Hurkacz and win the first ATP 1000 event of his career on Sunday.

    The Spaniard became the first unseeded player to win the tournament since Guilhermo Canas in 2002 after weathering an early storm to shock the eighth seed 3-6 6-3 6-3 in Montreal.

    Having come through a gruelling semi-final encounter with Dan Evans to reach his first ATP 1000 final in singles, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist struggled to deal with his opponent's impressive slew of aces in the first set, and saw his serve broken in the sixth game.

    But a ruthless start to the second set saw Carreno-Busta break early, racing out to a 3-0 lead and holding his nerve to keep the gap to his Polish opponent, who was chasing a second ATP 1000 crown.

    World number 10 Hurkacz attempted to rally with a fine start to the third set, but another loss of serve effectively stalled his momentum and Carreno-Busta was able to take the victory.

    The result marks a much-needed boost for Carreno-Busta, who suffered first-round exits at the French Open and Wimbledon after making the last-16 in Australia, with the U.S. Open set to start later this month.

  • Nadal hails Williams as 'one of the greatest of all-time' Nadal hails Williams as 'one of the greatest of all-time'

    Serena Williams is "one of the greatest of all time", says fellow tennis legend Rafael Nadal as the 23-time grand slam winner prepares to hang up her racquet.

    The 40-year-old, one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport, signalled her intent to "evolve away" from the game in an interview with Vogue Magazine earlier this month, hinting at her retirement following the U.S. Open in September.

    With just shy of two-dozen grand slam singles titles, Williams trails only Margaret Court for the all-time record of 24 crowns, and could equal her in her farewell appearance.

    Nadal, meanwhile, lies one behind her after victory in the Australian Open and French Open this year took him clear of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to 22, though the former's win at Wimbledon has seen him close the gap again.

    The duo are set to feature at this week's Western and Southern Open, where Williams will face incumbent U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu, and the Spaniard - who will mark his return from injury - has nothing but praise for his fellow giant of the game.

    "She is one of the greatest sports [people] of all time," he stated. "I feel lucky to share a tour for a long period of time with her.

    "Of course, from a selfish point of view, it's sad that she's leaving the tour but, on the other hand, we can't thank her enough for all the things that she did for our sport.

    "I think she's an amazing inspiration for a lot of people around the world and I think she deserves to choose whatever works for her better at this stage of her life.

    "So I wish her all the best. Hopefully, we can keep seeing her around the tour because I always believe that our sport, or the sport in general, is bigger and better when legends are around and she is a legend.

    "Hopefully, we can enjoy her in a different way around the tour."

    Nadal was forced to withdraw ahead of the Wimbledon semi-finals earlier this year with an abdominal tear, and now faces a potentially nervy run through to the U.S. Open in terms of fitness.

    But the 36-year-old is cautiously optimistic, adding: "I hope to be ready. That's what I'm trying to do. Try to be a little more conservative, but I hope I can be ready to play.

    "Of course, I need some more days to analyse how things are going in terms of abdominal feeling.

    "But things are going well for the moment, so hopefully I can manage to be ready. I'm excited. I want to play tennis again on the tour. I'm having a good season, I'm enjoying it, so I want to enjoy this week in Cincinnati."

  • Halep defeats Haddad Maia in Canada Open final Halep defeats Haddad Maia in Canada Open final

    Simona Halep secured victory against Beatriz Haddad Maia in the Canada Open final on Sunday, though was given a tougher test than she had otherwise experienced throughout the tournament.

    The Romanian was a 6-3 2-6 6-3 victor, dropping a set for only the second time in the week, but standing firm in the clash that clocked in at over two hours.

    That meant records for Haddad Maia, who has played the most WTA-level matches with three sets in 2022 (20) and spent over 12-and-a-half hours on the court at the Canada Open in 2022, more than any other player in a single WTA tournament this year.

    Wimbledon semi-finalist Halep proved to be a step too far for the Brazilian, however, with the win marking her most significant honour since winning in Rome in 2020.

    It was far from a vintage performance from the 30-year-old, who had nine double-faults in the match compared to Haddad Maia's two and left the door open for the South American - who was vying for victory in her first ever WTA 1000 event.

    Halep had already clinched a return to the world top 10 by reaching the final in Toronto, the first time since her 373-week stint ended just over a week ago - which led to admissions that she considered calling it quits amid her decline.

    A valiant comeback in 2022 has been one of the major stories of the calendar year though and, on the back of victory in Canada and a semi-final march at Wimbledon, will have high hopes for the U.S. Open.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.