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Carlos Alcaraz - his 'miracle' rise to win Wimbledon is a 'blessing' for tennis, says Feliciano Lopez

Feliciano Lopez says the new Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz combines elements of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal; "It's a real blessing for tennis to have someone like him. The way he plays is very different from the majority of players out there," Lopez said

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Carlos Alcaraz lifted the Wimbledon trophy in front of fans at Wimbledon after beating Novak Djokovic in an epic five-set thriller

The tennis world should enjoy the arrival of Carlos Alcaraz as its new star, says Feliciano Lopez.

In a marvellous Wimbledon final, Alcaraz overcame Novak Djokovic, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, in a five-set epic.

Spain's Lopez, a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist himself, emphasised the significance of his countryman's ascent to the summit of the sport at such an early stage of his career.

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All the headlines from the final day at Wimbledon, as Carlos Alcaraz beats Novak Djokovic in five-set thriller

"You know how important it is to win Wimbledon at only 20 years old," Lopez told Sky Sports News.

"It's very rare to see someone like Carlos winning titles at 20 years old, being able to really challenge Novak Djokovic in the final yesterday at Wimbledon.

"I think he's very mature for his age and the proof is how brave he was yesterday when the match was going through the most difficult times in the fifth set, he showed some bravery. He was convinced that he could do it.

"As Novak said after in the press conference, I think Carlos, apart from his tennis skills and abilities, everything that he has, his mental strength is something very impressive for a kid.

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"He's carrying a lot of pressure since he started playing professional tennis, the comparison with [Rafael] Nadal and [the rest of] the Big Three is going to be always there.

"But he seems to be comfortable carrying the pressure and it's very impressive what he's done so far."

Serbia's Novak Djokovic, left, and Spain's Carlos Alcaraz pose for a photo ahead of the final of the men's singles on day fourteen of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Sunday, July 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Image: The Wimbledon final could mark the start of a compelling rivalry between Djokovic and Alcaraz

It's remarkable that Alcaraz is rising to prominence just as Rafael Nadal is reaching the end of his career.

"We [Spain] are not a very powerful country in terms of sports and I call it a little bit like a miracle because it's very rare to see someone like Carlos, especially the timing when Rafa is about to finish," Lopez said.

"We have Carlitos breaking through it's really amazing for Spain in general, for everyone because it's something very rare to see."

It's too early to say just yet whether Alcaraz can carve out a place in tennis history similar to Nadal's.

"Of course we have to wait. Only time will tell how many Slams and titles he can win. But I think it's a real blessing for tennis to have someone like him. Because I think the way he plays is very different from the majority of players out there and this is something that we all have to enjoy," Lopez said.

"If I take everything that he's done already, I could say that he could be one of the greatest but on the other hand, it's very early to say. What about 15 Grand Slams? How does that sound?

"I don't know how far he can get, but it's very difficult to get as far [as he's got] at his age.

"We all have to sit down and enjoy the way he plays."

That way of playing has been likened to a combination of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer, by no lesser expert than Djokovic himself in the aftermath of their Wimbledon final.

Carlos Alcaraz during the Gentlemen's Singles final against Novak Djokovic on day fourteen of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Picture date: Sunday July 16, 2023.
Image: Alcaraz is only at the start of his career but has recorded stunning championship wins

"It is true that Carlitos has a little bit of all of them. He has the mental strength from Rafa, the physical condition from Rafa and Nole, the tennis skills. I see similarities with Roger on the anticipation and on many other things. It's a very strong statement, I have to say, to say that," Lopez said. "I do agree with that."

Alcaraz has rapidly adapted to playing on grass courts, and Lopez acknowledged the influence of coach Juan Carlos Ferrero.

"I want to give a lot of credit as well to Juan Carlos," Lopez said. "Juan Carlos was the No 1 player in the world, he won the French Open. He was an amazing player and since Carlos was a little kid, he's been dedicating his life also to Carlos to help him accomplish everything in his career.

"Juan Carlos was helpful in that process of adapting to the grass," he continued.

"He played only six matches before Queens and then he ended up winning Queens and Wimbledon back-to-back so of course all the credit to Carlos. Because this is one of the skills that he has, the capacity and the ability to adapt very quickly to any surface he's playing but I'm sure Juan Carlos has been very helpful during that process."

The next Grand Slam will be the US Open, which starts on August 28 live Sky Sports.

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning the opening set during the Gentlemen's Singles semi-final match against Daniil Medvedev on day twelve of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Picture date: Friday July 14, 2023.
Image: Alcaraz is already being likened to some of the greats of the sport

Alcaraz goes in as the defending champion with Djokovic now looking for Wimbledon revenge.

"He [Alcaraz] is such a nice kid. He's really living the dream. It's very difficult to be in his position right now and handling a lot of pressure he's handling lately," Lopez said.

"It's been very fast. I think this is the most difficult thing for him to handle. He said that many times already, everything is going very fast for him. The fact that he won Wimbledon yesterday at 20 years old. Not many players did that in the past.

"Everything's been going very fast." But he added: "The journey's been great so far."

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