The ball flies in service up to 217 km / h. And he is 17 years old. Come on, Carlitooooos! Come on, Charlieeeee! It can be heard in the headquarters of the Caja Mágica in the middle of the afternoon, when the present opens the door to the future and Alcaraz, that boy who comes strong and is on the lips of the whole circuit, teaches manners in front of Adrian Mannarino. The Frenchman, 15 years older than him, 32-17 in that section, puts his right hand to his forehead and in the end gives up; He lays down his arms because the Murcian, all momentum, all thrust, overwhelms him with right hands: 6-4 and 6-0, in 1h 12m.
It is an overwhelming debut. It is the first time that Alcaraz has set foot in the Madrid arena competing in the main draw of the tournament. He is novel, but the one who at times seems like the beginner is the Frenchman, who follows the flashing of the opponent’s ball and recoils without stopping. It’s clear who’s boss. The Madrid fan, they do not reach a thousand in an afternoon in which the coolness filters through the porous mesh of the Magic Box, quickly discover why so much is said about the boy and why he looks so good.
Alcaraz offers arguments from the beginning. The Spanish starts a break entry and shows his fist. Here he is, he’s hungry, he’s strong and he wants to make a good impression on where he came from when he dreamed of being down there. Not a hint of blush or nervousness. Or if it exists, it goes inside. He charges over and over again to safely decant the first set, and unloads an electrical storm in the second to definitively dislodge the French, 34th in the world.
At the moment, Alcaraz is just taking flight. It is his first full year on the professional circuit, almost everything is new for him. Discover the new world naturally, despite the fact that it is already becoming a claim. His face appears in panels, the ATP projects an asset for the future and the tournament organization turns to him because he has a pull. Acne covers his cheeks, he widens and his first triumphal parade in Madrid guides him directly to where he has dreamed so many times: Rafael Nadal. “I want to be like him, but you have to work,” he said in 2016.
On Wednesday, their 18th birthday, the two will meet face to face. The Balearic was 18 years old when he became the youngest tennis player to win a match in the tournament, then at the Rockódromo de la Casa de Campo, October 19, 2004, fast track. Davide Sanguinetti on the other side. Now it is Alcaraz, May 3, land, the one who takes a bite out of history and becomes the earliest winner. It will be the first time between the two. “He has everything to succeed”, blesses the Mallorcan. And he keeps jumping, from lug to lug. Prudent and daring at the same time. With him on the track, everything happens fast and a lot happens. Most of them are really good.