Federer’s technique, Murray’s tactics, Djokovic’s physique, Nadal’s mind: the Spanish talent seems a synthesis of the Fab Four, and he can still improve a lot.
The analysis of Emilio Sanchez, CEO of the Emilio Sanchez Academy.
He has come as a lightning bolt, a shot to the heart, a blessing to our sport, not just because of how he plays but because of who he is, because of his humility, because of how much he arrives at people’s hearts. That’s why I am in front of my computer, writing down the similarities to the greatest of all times. He’s a simple guy who really loves tennis and the audience feels it, people get excited they even jump off the bench. Carlos plays and wins, he does everything, I can hardly remember any player at his age with so much tennis. I have been around tennis for many years, seeing stages of young athletes become great, but this time, Carlos can be called one of the most exceptional young tennis athletes.
At the age of 19 years old, we should be discussing whether or not he has the potential to get there, whether or not he can win, or a prediction about what his career will look like. But, we are not discussing any of that because he’s already there, on April 25 he got into the top 10, the same day as Rafa Nadal, in the same place, Barcelona. He’s already won so much and had many achievements.
I am here because I want to talk about what he has that makes difference, and how he’s able to reach that many people and excite them with his game.
Let’s go into a full analysis comparing him to the top 3-4, let’s start with Technique. I want to start by talking about his first coach, his pope, who works in Tiro de Pichon, a traditional club in Murcia where they have always supported him. Great as a groundwork where we learned to work on all of his shots becoming very clean. Pope told me in Miami that he made Carlos dedicate so many hours in the sun playing against the wall, that he was constantly repeating the drills, the shots until he had them in his hand. Great work by Pope and the wall.
Reminiscent of Federer in terms of the range of technical options and how he uses the slice backhand to handle the exchange. The movements are more like Nadal.
The forehand technique is more like Federer’s one, with the point of impact, the acceleration of the hand, and the style. He has Rafa’s movements where he is able to have variety in the forehand and find the arch of the ball to defense, same as Roger. His stance is very forward thanks to Juan Carlos’s work and he plays above the line so you can see the similarity. In conclusion, he has a mix of Federer’s style, Rafa’s arch of the ball, and Novak’s plasticity to be able to receive without losing position, and have a good balance even in cases of difficulty.
At 19 years old, he already possesses Djokovic’s flexibility and great balance that allows him to defend without losing court position, he is able to change his game with fluency.
The backhand is similar to Djokovic’s one, with so much ease like the Serbian for cross shots and changing with the longline without showing it. I would say the slice is more like Roger’s, keeping it in play and improving it on attacking mode. He also has a devastating backhand bunt. At his age, Carlos has an incredible slice which seems unbelievable for a two-handed backhand player. This naturalness and ability to change and to maneuver helps him so much to have many options. To me, the real talent is here, and that’s where he can use it to become better than the rest of the players.
Tactically he has the skill to read the game, this is a quality that brings him closer to Andy Murray, a master at finding the opponent’s weaknesses.
Service to improve
The serve is what he can improve the most, he can use it to make different choices, directions, and percentages. Let’s say the execution is between Roger and Novak. The flat serve to the “T” is similar to Roger’s style, the serve slice is like Djoko’s, but my favorite is the topSpin, especially on his second serve, the one that bounces very high and where he dominates. Many times he changes his execution position and plays with threes. In this area, there is a lot of room for improvement for the future. This reminds me of the mentality that Rafa has, although he does not serve killer but, during the second or third shot is where they have equal initiative.
Tactically, he is significantly developed at his age, working with Juan Carlos, but especially because he has many skills that he can use to give diversity in the different moments. In my opinion, he looks more like Roger because of his variability.
Carlo’s mental ability, the ability to think like a champion reminds me of Rafa’s. He is able to forget mistakes and give his best no matter the situation.
He has a natural strength in believing in himself, he knows his game is different so he exploits it. When he makes mistakes, he forgets them fast and keeps his head in the present. And this is where he drives me crazy, he’s not afraid of anything, not even of trying other things. He plays and wins, he looks, he attacks and pulls and that’s his skill, he has a superior state of mind. People love him, it is extravagant, a fun tennis to watch, it is like those flashing new shoes that you see and make you fall in love. At his age, neither Fed, Djoko, nor Rafa who have won with their heart and legs can be compared to Carlos.
To resume, I would say that he has the technique like Federer, the Tactics like Murray, the physical side like Djoko, and the mind like Rafa.
The last time I saw him was in Miami, I got excited to watch him play, I even got up from my chair to applaud him, he inspired me and it reminded me why I fell in love with tennis. He is a mirror, I will always take him as an example to my children and academy athletes. I am convinced that, if he continues to improve, Carlitos can become one of the few capable of revolutionizing tennis.
Emilio Sánchez, CEO ES Academy.