Carlos Alcaraz is undeniably the most exciting men's tennis player at the moment. The 20-year-old, who is currently ranked world no. 1, is heading into the U.S. Open with all eyes watching. He won last year, and is coming off a thrilling win at Wimbledon against Novak Djokovic.
"Nobody gifts you anything, I believe," he said last year. "You don’t just click your fingers and have the world at your feet. You have to work at things. I think what I have achieved, winning a Grand Slam and being No. 1 in the world, is because of the work I’ve been doing with my team for a very long time. It hasn’t been a bed of roses, I’ve had to suffer and go through bad times to get here. I’m not special, and nobody said I was going to be the best, I’ve worked for it."
Here, 5 things to know about Alcaraz:
1. His last name isn't actually Alcaraz.
He was born Carlos Alcaraz Garfia on May 5, 2003 to parents Carlos Alcaraz González and Virginia Garfia Escandón. He has three siblings: Álvaro, Sergio, and Jaime (Carlos is the second of the four boys, Álvaro is the oldest). His dad also played tennis, and was nationally ranked in Spain when he was a teen.
2. He prefers to be called "Carlitos."
In fact, he also doesn't like going by Carlos. In 2022, he said, "No me gusta que me llamen Carlos. Me gusta Carlitos o Charlie. Sinceramente, Carlos me parece muy serio y parece que he hecho algo malo." This roughly translates to: "I don't like being called Carlos. I like Carlitos or Charlie. Honestly, Carlos seems very serious to me and it seems that I have done something wrong." His Instagram handle reflects this: He's @carlitosalcarazz on the platform.
3. He started playing tennis at age 4, and made his professional debut at age 16 in 2020.
Alcaraz quickly rose in the ranks, entering the top 100 in 2021, and winning his first ATP title. In 2022, he had numerous achievements, including beating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic back-to-back at the Madrid Open, then winning the U.S. Open. He also became the youngest no. 1 in the history of ATP rankings. In 2023, he won Wimbledon, outlasting Djokovic in a thrilling five-set match.
4. He's interested in fashion.
Alcaraz is sponsored by Nike, Babolat, Rolex, BMW, and Calvin Klein, among others. In 2023, he was announced as Louis Vuitton's newest ambassador. At the time of the announcement, Alcaraz said, "For me, Louis Vuitton is really a brand that I have always looked to and when the opportunity to work with the team arose, it instantly felt like a perfect partnership. I was really invested from the start." He added, "I really want to know more about it and be more into fashion. I think it’s a very interesting world and it excites me."
5. He dreams of being one of the best players in history.
Earlier this summer, Alcaraz said, "My dream in tennis right now is to become one of the best tennis players in history. I know that this is a big dream, [it] probably is too big. But in this world, you have to dream big and you have to think big, as well." One thing's for sure: He's definitely on his way into the history books.
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