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Fritz : “I definitely felt like I had more breathing room against (Roger, Rafa, Novak) than (against Alcaraz)”
What’s it like to face Carlos Alcaraz when the Spaniard is firing on all cylinders? Taylor Fritz gives his account.
What makes Carlos Alcaraz’s tennis so darn invincible at the moment? Who better to ask than top American Taylor Fritz, who dealt with the Spaniard up close and personal for the first time on Thursday night in Miami.
The world No 10 dropped a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Alcaraz, and gave a pretty glowing assessment of Alcaraz’s tennis in his post-match press conference.
So what exactly makes Carlitos impossible to deal with at the moment?
“He has tons of different ways to play”
“It’s not even what I saw today,” Fritz said. “It’s what I have seen for a while now. I said it a year ago when I watched him play, for how young he is, he just has all the tools. He can come to net, he can dropshot you, he can lob you, he’s incredibly fast, he has all the power, his forehand is good, his backhand is good.”
Fritz echoes the sentiments of many tennis pundits: Alcaraz has an extremely “complete” game for a 19-year-old.
“It’s very rare to see someone so young so… developed in their game and not really have anything that they need to work on so much,” he said. “He has tons of different ways to play, and he can incorporate tons of different game plans to play different players because he has so many tools to win a match. I think that’s something that I wouldn’t say any of those people had at such a young age. There is always I guess things that people need to improve on.”
How does Alcaraz compare to the Big Three?
Asked to give his take on how Alcaraz measures up to Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, Fritz gave an interesting answer.
The American says that Alcaraz plays a bit more aggressively than what he encountered from the others.
“I definitely felt like I had more breathing room against those guys than in this match,” he said. “I think that it’s different game styles. Novak will have these long rallies, but he’ll kind of slowly get you out of position and overwhelm me. I still feel like I can hang in these rallies for a long time and get more chances to attack.”
Fritz pointed to the early stages of Thursday’s contest, and stressed how Alcaraz was on the front foot and virtually unplayable.
“I think that I’d go back to the first couple games of the match. He just hits a winner off of a lot of shots, winners and shots that hurt me off of a lot of shots that people normally aren’t hurting me off of – definitely less.
“I just felt he was more offensive and pressed me a lot more.”
Facing Alcaraz can be “overwhelming”
Fritz mentioned that he wasn’t under duress for the whole night, but when Alcaraz switched into high gear, he found it difficult to play with him.
“I did feel the level of the first three games was absolutely unbearable,” he said. “He was hitting clean winners off of 110-mile-an-hour second serves I was hitting into his body. I’m stepping up and crushing backhands cross, and he’s going open-stance backhand line winners off of that.
“That wasn’t the level for the rest of the match. I was able to settle in much more, and he wasn’t doing that the whole match. But he obviously possesses that level, and for those first couple of games, it was pretty overwhelming.”