Carlos Alcaraz overwhelming favorite to win Hamburg this week
This time last year, Spanish player Carlos Alcaraz was No.73 in the world.
He had recently turned eighteen, had never won a title, and not many people were talking about him.
Now, the nineteen year old is No.6 in the world, holder of five titles, and is the overwhelming favorite to win the Hamburg European Open this year.
Strong start to 2022 for Alcaraz
A few months ago, and Carlos Alcaraz was all the tennis world could talk about.
He ran hot, winning four titles in the first quarter of 2022—an ATP 500 in Rio, two Masters 1000 titles in Madrid and Miami, then another ATP 500 in Barcelona. On the way, he demolished a plethora of Top 10 players, rocking himself to No.6 in the world and gaining a 19-2 streak on clay.
However, Alcaraz has managed his body a little the past two months, opting to pull out of a few tournaments and play less, focussing on Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Despite being one of the favorites heading into both Grand Slams, the teen exited at the quarterfinal stage in Roland Garros, and Round of 16 in Wimbledon.
Now, returning to ATP 500 level for the first time since April, Alcaraz is the odds-on favorite to pick up another title.
Odds stacked towards Spanish teen despite past champions
So favored is Carlos Alcaraz to win the Hamburg European Open this year, that bet-makers are offering odds of -137 for the teen to walk away with the title.
That means bookies are giving Alcaraz a 58% chance of being crowned champion this week.
These are fairly incredible odds, given that the field holds two past champions.
Russian Andrey Rublev won the tournament in 2020, and is paying odds of +530 (a 16% chance), whereas 2021 champion Pablo Carreno Busta has odds of +1201 (a 7% chance).
The other serious contender in the field is Argentinian former Top Ten player Diego Schwartzman, who is the third favorite for the title at odds of +1060, or 9%.
For Alcaraz to be making his Hamburg debut this week, and to be holding odds of over 50% against two former champions, is reflective of just how dominant the young Spaniard has been on clay this year.
Top seeding motivates Alcaraz
One might think that heading into a tournament as top seed—for the first time—would have the potential to put pressure on a nineteen year old, possibly throwing them off their game.
Carlos Alcaraz, it seems, it cut from a different cloth.
The teen said this week in an interview, that he is “comfortable being the top seed and motivated with it,” going on to say that, “of course I have the level and confidence to win the tournament.”
One of the many traits that distinguishes Alcaraz from other players his age, and why many believe he will go on to win multiple Grand Slams, is the maturity he shows under pressure.
Playing as the overwhelming favorite in a tournament for the first time will be a new type of pressure for the young teen, however, it seems Alcaraz will rise to the occasion as he has continued to do over his bright career so far.
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