‘The Most Complete 19-Year-Old’ Paul Annacone Remembers Seeing

The American coaching legend dishes out ultimate praise to Carlos Alcaraz. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday March 23, 2023

Having turned pro in 1984 and spent a life in tennis since, former World No.7 and top-notch coach Paul Annacone knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed as a teenager in the sport.

And he thinks Carlos Alcaraz, the current World No.1, is doing it better than any other player he can remember.

Annacone told Chris Clarey of the New York Times that Alcaraz is “the most complete 19-year-old men’s player” he has seen.

And he said that the Spaniard, who enters his Miami Open title defense in his 21st week at No.1 in the ATP rankings and 13-1 on the season, is more like Roger Federer than Rafael Nadal.

“I think he’s a lot more like Roger than Rafa,” Annacone told Clarey. “Because Rafa couldn’t take the ball early like this when he was 19, and Rafa couldn’t come forward like this. Roger could always stay on the baseline and always look like he had time, and that’s how this kid looks.”

Alcaraz is well known for the completeness of his game – his ability to play offense and defense, to tread the baseline or attack the net, to hit with tremendous power or use touch and nuance.

Most teenagers are works in progress, that excel in some aspects, but very rarely all. Alcaraz, on the other hand, can do it all.

“The interesting thing for me is watching someone who is this athletically talented with his running, jumping, explosiveness and flexibility,” Annacone said, “but also has the hand-eye coordination to be able to take the ball early on the rise, come forward and volley. He also can back up and change pace. He can do everything.”


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