Renowned tennis coach Darren Cahill has offered his thoughts on why Carlos Alcaraz struggled during the North American swing season and failed to successfully defend his US Open title.
After breezing through the first five rounds at Flushing Meadows, Alcaraz’s title defence came to an end in the semi-final as he was beaten in four sets by Daniil Medvedev.
After the match the 20-year-old offered no excuses and simply stated that he was “not mature enough to handle these kind of matches”.
Cahill, who currently coaches world No 7 Jannik Sinner, is a big fan of Alcaraz and brushed aside suggestions from the youngster that he is “not mature enough”.
Speaking on the Advantage Connors podcast, the Australian said: “He is an amazing young man, certainly very humble, very honest. He and Jannik are very alike in many many ways, that’s why they are good friends off the court as well because they do get along, they do think the same and they do want it as badly as everybody. Carlos is a bit ahead of Jannik, at the moment.
“I think what Carlos was able to achieve at Wimbledon was remarkable. Going from somebody that people were thinking ‘it will take a few years before he becomes a threat on grass’ and then twelve months later, he won the trophy, defeating Novak Djokovic in the final.
“That’s everything about how competitive Carlos is, his work, his determination, and also his maturity. He might say that he is not mature enough, but he is.”
On the back of defeating Djokovic in a five-set marathon in the Wimbledon final, many believed Alcaraz would dominate the hard-court swing across the pond.
He kicked off the US summer with a run to the quarter-final of the Canadian Open, then lost an epic three-set match against Djokovic in the Cincinnati Open final before going down to Medvedev in New York.
Cahill feels the 20-year-old was left drained by his Wimbledon run, but is impressed with the way Alcaraz handled the pressure.
He added: “I think that [Wimbledon success] had a bit of a lag effect – physically and mentally – on him through the whole US summer.
“I don’t think he played great tennis in Toronto or Cincinnati, but he was just good enough to battle through some difficult situations in certainly in Cincinnati and play that amazing final against Novak. And that probably left him a little bit physically fatigued for the US Open.
“… You could tell that he was struggling a little physically in that semi-final against Medvedev. He didn’t show it, he still played every point like it was the last and he was there until the end and he made no excuses after that match. I love that about Carlos, I love the fact that he is playing tennis, tennis is lucky to have him and hopefully he stays injury free and we can have him at the top of the sport for a long, long time.”
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