Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

Popular This Week

Net Notes - A Tennis Now Blog

Net Posts

Industry Insider - A Tennis Now Blog

Industry Insider

Second Serve - A Tennis Now Blog

Second Serve


By Richard Pagliaro | @TennisNow | Wednesday July 10, 2024
Photo credit: Rob Newell/CameraSport

WimbledonCarlos Alcaraz is a champion for all surfaces.

Wimbledon’s lawn may prove to be the Slam surface best-suited for Alcaraz’s all-court attack, says Queen’s Club champion
Tommy Paul.

More: Alcaraz Tops Paul, Sets up Wimbledon Rematch vs. Medvedev

In the aftermath of Alcaraz’s 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 Wimbledon quarterfinal win over the 12th-seeded American on No. 1 Court, Paul cited three reasons why Alcaraz could be most productive on lawn.

Comprehensive court coverage, balance to defend on the run even in slick corners of the court and his skill for the thrill strike that can spike both crowd support and the Spaniard’s confidence, all separate defending-champion Alcaraz from the pack chasing him, Paul said.

“He moves unbelievably well. He's probably the quickest player,” Paul said of Alcaraz. “It's very hard to get the ball by him. Grass suits him.

“He moves incredible on the grass. It's not easy to change direction the way that he does. He stays pretty low. I mean, it's not easy.”

Alcaraz snapped Paul’s nine-match grass-court winning streak, scoring his 12th straight SW19 win to set up a Wimbledon semifinal rematch with Daniil Medvedev. Alcaraz dismissed Medvedev, surrendering just nine games in the 2023 semifinal before dethroning defending champion Novak Djokovic in an epic final.

The third-seeded Alcaraz is 22-3 lifetime on lawn, including a 16-2 Wimbledon record.

One of those two losses was to Medvedev—6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in Alcaraz’s 2021 Wimbledon debut—the other to
Jannik Sinner the next year.

Paul, who owns two career wins over Alcaraz, says the Spaniard is a roll player: When Alcaraz ignites the crowd with an audacious winner it empowers his surge.

“When he starts building energy and building momentum, I don't know, it feels a little bit different than most of the other guys,” Paul said of Alcaraz. “He can play some seriously amazing, amazing tennis.

“Half of the job when you're out there is not to let him win one of those crazy points because when he does, he kind of gets on a roll.”

The 21-year-old Alcaraz is a champion for all surfaces because he adapts his game to the demands of each surface. He owns fine net skills, deploys one of the most devious drop shots in the Open Era and can vaporize his forehand to “laser beam” effect as Paul put it.

One of the great challenges of winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon back to back is the physical adjustment to a completely different surface—and court space.

Adapting from the Court Philippe Chatrier in Paris, one of the largest Grand Slam stages in the game, to the much smaller and more intimate Centre Court can limit room to run and diminish the impact of defense and counter strikes, compared to clay.

Wimbledon's green lawn produces a ball bounce both faster and lower than Roland Garros’ crushed red brick, which makes it trickier to time the ball.

Variety is a valuable Alcaraz asset on grass in that he’s applied his ability to take the ball earlier than opponents, is adept at flattening out his shots and is comfortable closing at net.

Additionally, the athletic Alcaraz puts plenty of returns back in play, squeezing safe space for opponents. Alcaraz leads Wimbledon with 30 service breaks in the tournament.

The youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all three major surfaces, Alcaraz, who lost to Medvedev in four sets in the 2023 US Open semifinals, said he welcomes his return to Centre Court for the semifinals because he’s more comfortable on Centre and believes it suits his style of play.

“I felt the difference playing on Centre Court and on Court 1. The grass is different,” Alcaraz said. “Obviously I feel like it was more sand on Court 1 than Centre Court. I don't want to say holes.

“There were more matches on Court 1 than Centre Court. I had to adapt my game on that. I didn't feel comfortable at all playing on Court 1 with the conditions on it. As I said, I had to adapt my game on it. I tried to play my best tennis on it.

"Yeah, I think at the end I found it, I found my best tennis and my good tennis just to feel comfortable on it. It was difficult to found it.”