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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Monday, October 2, 2023

The balls came flooding from every direction.  

Carlos Alcaraz faced every single one with a smile. 

More: Djokovic Captures 24th Grand Slam Title

After Alcaraz's Beijing victories this week, Chinese fans have swarmed him armed with souvenir balls for signatures or smart phones for selfies.

In his debut in China, Alcaraz has received rock-star treatment from adoring fans.

The Wimbledon winner said one of the most "crazy"—and inspiring—aspects of his global fame is seeing how many young fans idolize him.

"I'm really happy to know that obviously the juniors, the young people, have me like they idol," Alcaraz said after conquering Casper Ruud, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the China Open semifinals. "It's something crazy for me. When I see that the juniors here, reminds me when I was junior. It's a great memory.

"Obviously they have the opportunity to learn from the best tennis players so closely. I think that's something that it's going to help them a lot to increase the level and improve the things on the court and off the court as well. It's really, really important."

Tennis Express

The 20-year-old Alcaraz grew up looking up to both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and has said he studied their games during his junior days. Alcaraz's long-time coach, former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, has also been his mentor and role model.

Alcaraz sees tennis as a family tree and just as a prior generation of champions inspired him, he hopes to inspire the future generation. Alcaraz said his tennis studies taught him a valuable lesson: you can learn a lot by watching the best players in the world.

"To have the opportunity to share some things with the pros when I was little kid, it help me a lot coming into juniors or coming into futures, challengers," Alcaraz said. "It help me a lot.

"Something that I want to say to them? To take the opportunities to improve and learn from the best tennis players."

Photo credit: Emmanuel Wong/Getty