There are few tennis coaches with a resume as impressive as that of Rick Macci. With seven USPTA National Coach of the Year awards and a place in the USPTA Hall of Fame, his opinions on the sport carry significant weight.
In an exclusive interview with Tennis-Infinity.com, Macci discussed why he believes Carlos Alcaraz is the most complete player in the world and what makes him stand out from the rest. In the past, Macci said that the young Spaniard will transcend how people teach the sport and the fact that he's really impressed by the teenager is clear.
Macci's assertion stems from Alcaraz's versatility on all surfaces. While many see clay as Alcaraz's strongest surface, Macci argues that it's actually hard court. He believes that the young Spaniard's powerful game does more damage on the surface which saw him lift the Indian Wells trophy this year.
"Against any player, any day, on any surface, he's going to be able to hang in there. A lot of people think clay is his best surface, I say it's hard court. I think he does more damage with his power. He has such a cafeteria of shots at his disposal on the menu on clay, I think he has too many options."
Despite having an impressive repertoire of shots, Macci thinks that Alcaraz sometimes has too many options on clay, leading to more errors. He also noted that grass might be Alcaraz's weakest surface, as opponents can exploit it to their advantage. Nonetheless, Macci is confident that Alcaraz can win on any surface.
"So he's going to make some errors and on clay, as you know, you got to work the point longer. So I think it's best surface is hard, but I think he can win on everything. I think his weakest would be grass because people are going to hurt him a little more."
Another factor that contributes to Alcaraz's status as a complete player is his mental strength. Macci praised the young athlete's humility, gratitude, and love for competition. He pointed out that Alcaraz's unwavering focus on the game and his eagerness to perform set him apart from other players.
"But then, the wild card. He was born to do this, he's a showman, he's a performer. But he has humility, he has gratitude. So he's a very complete individual. Because this could get to your head, but he loves to perform, he's all about the competition."
Macci acknowledged that Alcaraz would face losses, pressure, and setbacks, but he believes that if Alcaraz can stay healthy, he will be an unparalleled force in the tennis world, calling him 'the most complete player inside and out'.
"He's gonna lose, he's gonna fail, he's gonna choke, he's gonna feel pressure, but in my opinion, if he can say healthy, because I'm just a little concerned, he slides so much and he's very violent in his movement and he's gotten a few injuries so you got to keep an eye on that, he's the most complete player inside and out."
He also believes that if Alcaraz can avoid injuries, he has the potential to be a double-digit Grand Slam winner. Macci emphasized that the main obstacle standing between Alcaraz and a successful career is the risk of injury.
"Barring injury, definitely double-digit Grand Slam winner. And then from there, who knows where this can go, but the injury thing's going to be the biggest thing. But I think he loves to play."