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Juan Carlos Ferrero – let’s keep the door open on Carlos Alcaraz’s best surface

Most pundits agree that Carlos Alcaraz is going to be a force on the tour for years to come. But which surface will be his best?

Carlos Alcaraz, Miami 2022 Carlos Alcaraz, Miami 2022. Photo : AI / Reuters / Panoramic

After Carlos Alcaraz won his first Masters 1000 title on Sunday in Miami, becoming the youngest player to ever claim the men’s singles title at the prestigious event, some marvelled at the success of the Spaniard on hard courts, given that he grew up on the clay.

At this particular moment in the career of the soon to be 19-year-old, it’s difficult to tell which surface will be Alcaraz’s best. The Spaniard has a slightly higher winning percentage on clay (.727 on hard court, .720 on clay), and that’s a good problem to have.

Former world No 1 and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick (definitely better on hard and grass) took part in an impromptu Twitter debate on the subject, saying: “I know he gets the benefit of the doubt because he’s from Spain. We are just making a lazy assumption though. He might be an animal on clay. Probably will be. BUT, he plays more aggressively than most Spaniards. Likes to get forward, etc…”

Another former No 1, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, also chimed in. He believes we are debating the million dollar question about Alcaraz.

“That’s a million dollar question! There are things that he won’t be doing on clay as effective as he was doing on hard court like flat out forehand inside out.”

Coach Juan Carlos Ferrero weighs in

Alcaraz’s coach, who gave a press conference to on-site media after the final, says that it’s best to keep the door open. Of course he wants to see his charge evolve and be a force on all three surfaces, and it appears that he is well on his way to doing that.

“We are not sure [about which surface will be his best],” Ferrero said with a smile. “We talk sometimes about this, and he says to me that he’s not sure now, because we start practicing on hard courts like a year ago, so he didn’t compete at all on hard court.

“But, you know, his game, his kind of game to go forward many times, to go to the net and to play aggressive all the time, I was completely sure that his game could adapt to these kind of courts and even for grass. So I think that when he’s 100 percent trained, maybe he can give a little bit, a little bit more on clay. But let’s keep the door open that maybe he’s going to be better on hard courts in the future.”

Alcaraz – I’m comfortable on both

The question was later put the Alcaraz himself, and he admitted that he wasn’t really sure.  

“I don’t know,” he said. “All I can say is I got two titles on clay and one on hard court. Yeah, I feel very comfortable in both surface, so I don’t mind playing on clay or on hard court. But I feel comfortable on both.”

Perhaps we’ll just have to let time decide this one…

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