LONDON: Top seed Carlos Alcaraz opened his Wimbledon campaign in ruthless fashion by sending French veteran Jeremy Chardy into retirement with a 6-0 6-2 7-5 drubbing on Tuesday (Jul 3).
At about the same time as eight-times champion Roger Federer was receiving a rapturous reception as a Royal Box guest on Centre Court, Alcaraz showed why he is billed as the future of men’s tennis over on Court One.
Under the roof, the 20-year-old Alcaraz subjected the unfortunate Chardy to a high-profile pummelling, firing down ferocious serves and rasping forehands with frightening power.
U.S. Open champion Alcaraz, who returned to the top of the ATP rankings after winning the Queen’s Club title on grass last week, blasted through the opening set in 20 minutes as Chardy struggled with a rash of double-faults.
When the Spaniard won the first two games of the second set it began to look ugly for the 36-year-old Chardy whose 56th and final Grand Slam tournament was turning into a horror show.
Chardy, the former world number 25 who reached the fourth round here in 2014 and boasts a win over Federer, finally got on the scoreboard with a service hold greeted by warm applause.
He even turned the match into a contest in the third set as the rifle-shot sound of Alcaraz’s ball-striking was temporarily muffled by rain hammering on the translucent roof.
Alcaraz trailed 4-2 after a sloppy service game but he was not in the mood for retirement gifts and buckled down again to hit back and finish off his opponent in a shade under two hours, sealing victory with a 10th ace.
Tougher tests will come for Alcaraz with the likes of Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Alex de Minaur lurking in his section of the draw.
But they way he began on Tuesday augurs well for his prospects of going very deep.
One player certainly in no doubt as to Alcaraz’s chances is last year’s runner-up Nick Kyrgios who pulled out of the tournament on Sunday evening with a wrist injury.
“He’s got a bit of both. He has that game style and consistency and then he’s also the showman,” the Australian told the BBC. “He’s got a bit of Novak, he’s got a bit of me and a bit of Rafa. It’s a new evolution of tennis player.”