When it comes to sporting sensations, few have made an instant impression like Carlos Alcaraz.
The 20-year-old Spaniard is the successor to Rafa Nadal, already ranked number 1 on the ATP Tour and will pose a serious threat to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon.
Expectations were so high for the Murcian boy that by the age of 10 he had a sponsor.
Since then he has been the face of Rolex, appeared on a cover photo shoot for Vanity Fair and posed in underwear for Calvin Klein.
Last September he became a Grand Slam champion when he won the US Open.
After winning the Queen’s Club Championships last weekend, he comes into Wimbledon in top form.
His teenage sweetheart, Maria Gonzalez Gimenez, remains firmly on the ground.
Blessed with talent
Son of parents Carlos and Virginia, Alcaraz started playing tennis at the age of 4 at the Real Sociedad Club de Campo de Murcia, where his father served as director of the tennis academy.
Tennis coach Kiko Navarro caught a glimpse of the sensation before beginning to coach him.
“He started playing with his father, and one day he did [his father] asked me to take care of him. “This kid, at four, five years old, was spectacular,” he said The guard.
“I knew from a young age that he was incredible.
“I won’t say I thought he was going to be world no. 1 but I knew I had a really good and different player on my hands.”
His love for tennis came from his father Carlos Snr who was a good player and in his time one of the top 40 tennis players in Spain.
However, he lacked the financial strength for a professional career.
Instead he became a coach and then an administrator in tennis and padel.
The enthusiasm for Alcaraz started when he was just 16 years old.
He made his debut in the ATP main draw at the Rio Open after receiving a wildcard for the singles main draw.
He would lose to Federico Coria in the second round but people took notice.
A year later, he became the youngest player to ever compete in the Australian Open after qualifying for the main draw.
Then, when he defeated Adrian Mannarino at the Madrid Open, he broke Nadal’s record from 2004 of being the youngest winner of the competition.
His success at the US Open last year made him world No. 1, the youngest player to ever hold that spot.
Following his success at Flushing Meadows, Alcaraz wrote, “I never thought I’d achieve something like this at 19.”
“Everything happened so fast. I’ve dreamed of this since I was a kid, since I started playing tennis. Winning this trophy is incredible for me.”
Sponsored at 10
Already at the age of 10, sponsors tried to get their hands on Alcaraz.
French company Babolat tricked him into using their rackets in 2013.
Two years later, Nike began working with him, signing a professional deal with Alcaraz worth £1million.
Rolex also joined the hype last year and presented the child prodigy as a brand ambassador.
At 19, he is the youngest athlete they have ever endorsed.
BMW provides the company car and lots of cash.
Underwear is provided by Calvin Klein, who he stripped for her Calvins or Nothing Spring 2023 campaign.
Of his £8.6million he earned last year, around £4million was from his commercial activities.
Although Alcaraz devoted himself to tennis, he had time to find love.
The 23-year-old beauty Maria Gonzalez Gimenez from Murcia is the object of his affections.
Maria also shares the same sporting interest as her alleged lover as she plays for Murcia Club de Tenis – a tennis club in Spain.
Details are kept quiet, however, and the pair refuse to reveal too much about each other on social media.
However, Tennis Tonic shared a screenshot of an Instagram story posted on Alcaraz’s account in which the two shared an intimate moment.
Much like her love life, Maria has decided to keep her profession out of the limelight.
But she’s starting to build a presence on Instagram and has 12,000 followers.
She’s just as happy on the tennis court as she is in a bikini on the beach.
And she’ll have even more to celebrate when her boyfriend becomes Center Court’s darling at SW19.