Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek usher in new tennis era after Roger Federer, Serena Williams retirements

Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek usher in new tennis era after Roger Federer, Serena Williams retirements

While tennis has revelled in the glory years of Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic, there is a black cloud looming; in the rise of Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Swiatek, Emma Raducanu and others, it is clear fans have much excitement to enjoy and to look forward to in 2023

There are those who believe the glory days of tennis are well and truly over, but Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are still very much around and then you have Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek ready to take us into the future.

It is clear fans have much excitement to enjoy and to look forward to with tennis having revelled in the glory years of Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic

As well as Alcaraz and Swiatek, the emergence of Jannik Sinner, Coco Gauff, Ons Jabeur, Holger Rune and Brits Emma Raducanu and Jack Draper means we can look forward to another exciting year in 2023.

Is there a changing of the guard?

Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, looks up at the fans after beating Jannik Sinner, of Italy, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships, early Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Image:Carlos Alcaraz has drawn in fans from outside tennis

Alcaraz is a one-man highlight reel and has the on-court charisma to draw in fans from outside the sport. His movement has wowed more than anything, with the teenager tracking down seemingly impossible shots and maintaining his speed and stamina through epic matches. There still remain question marks around how tennis moves forward, particularly commercially, but the forecast is certainly a lot rosier.

In winning this year’s US Open, the 19-year-old became the youngest Grand Slam winner since Nadal at the French Open in 2005.

The Spanish right-hander, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, is also ahead of his compatriot’s rivals Djokovic and Federer at the same age.

Djokovic won his first major at the 2008 Australian Open when he was 20, while Federer did so at Wimbledon 2003 aged 21.

“The way he handled everything in 2022 was nothing short of remarkable”Tennis analyst Barry Cowan on Carlos Alcaraz

Coach Juan Carlos Ferrero has worked with Alcaraz since he was 15 and overseen his rapid rise to the top of the game.

Ferrero still feels there is plenty Alcaraz can improve, though, saying: “I think he’s on 60 per cent of his game. He knows and I know that we have to keep working.

“Once you get to the number one, it’s not done. You have to keep working, keep playing at a huge level to keep winning.

“The players now, they’re going to play very motivated against him. It’s like Real Madrid-Barcelona, there’s a rivalry that gets you to increase your level. He has to be ready.”

Coach Juan Carlos Ferrero has worked with Alcaraz since he was 15 and overseen his rapid rise to the top of the game.

Ferrero still feels there is plenty Alcaraz can improve, though, saying: “I think he’s on 60 per cent of his game. He knows and I know that we have to keep working.

“Once you get to the number one, it’s not done. You have to keep working, keep playing at a huge level to keep winning.

“The players now, they’re going to play very motivated against him. It’s like Real Madrid-Barcelona, there’s a rivalry that gets you to increase your level. He has to be ready.”

U.S. Open men's singles tennis champion Carlos Alcaraz poses in Times Square, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Image:Alcaraz became the youngest Grand Slam winner since Rafael Nadal at the French Open in 2005

Tennis analyst Barry Cowan says that before his breakout year, it was clear Alcaraz had everything in the locker to become a world No. 1 and multiple Grand Slam champion.

“I hadn’t spoke to anyone in the sport that didn’t think he was going to the very top. The way he handled everything in 2022 was nothing short of remarkable,” Cowan said.

“Alcaraz took advantage of the holes at the top of the sport to become the youngest-ever world No 1. Now it’s all about looking ahead to 2023 and how he builds on that, which is going to be very exciting.”

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