The 20-year-old world number one heart-throb set for Wimbledon glory… don’t worry, he’s SINGLE! 

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Tucked away on the underside of one powerful forearm are three inked initials that sum up what drives the man who is tipped for the top at Wimbledon this year.

Carlos Alcaraz, who until May was still a teenager, has just nudged aside the big four – Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and our own Andy Murray – to become the first new male name to be proclaimed top seed at the Wimbledon Championships since 2003.

It’s quite a feat. And ask those who know the muscular, refreshingly frank, young player from the small Spanish town of El Palmar near Murcia how he’s done it and it comes down to those three letters – CCC, which in Spanish means cerebro, corazon and cojones. They broadly translate as: brains, heart and balls.

The motif, which the eagle-eyed may have spotted as Alcaraz held aloft the victory trophy at Queen’s last weekend, is a touching nod to the Spaniard’s heritage, representing a mantra his grandfather drilled into him as he was growing up.

‘My grandfather always told me to focus on … head, heart and balls,’ said Alcaraz, winning one of his first titles back in 2021. If it sounds like the kind of motivational fighting talk Rocky Balboa might have uttered, it would be apt, given Alcaraz likes to get himself fired up for matches by watching Sylvester Stallone in action.

Carlos Alcaraz, who until May was still a teenager, has just nudged aside the big four ¿ Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and our own Andy Murray ¿ to become the first new male name to be proclaimed top seed at the Wimbledon Championships since 2003

Carlos Alcaraz, who until May was still a teenager, has just nudged aside the big four – Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and our own Andy Murray – to become the first new male name to be proclaimed top seed at the Wimbledon Championships since 2003

Alcaraz has already chalked up winnings of more than £13million and has banked more than £5million in off-court earnings

Alcaraz has already chalked up winnings of more than £13million and has banked more than £5million in off-court earnings

A childhood photo of 8-year-old Alcaraz who is now number 1

A childhood photo of 8-year-old Alcaraz who is now number 1

Alcaraz is apparently single, having previously dated stunning tennis player Maria Gonzalez Gimenez

Alcaraz is apparently single, having previously dated stunning tennis player Maria Gonzalez Gimenez

By winning the US Open in 2022, he became the youngest Number One in the history of the current ranking system

By winning the US Open in 2022, he became the youngest Number One in the history of the current ranking system

Alcaraz celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Australia's Alex de Minaur at the Queens Club tennis tournament in London

Alcaraz celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Australia’s Alex de Minaur at the Queens Club tennis tournament in London

It certainly seems to be working. By winning the US Open in 2022, he became the youngest Number One in the history of the current ranking system.

Additionally, Alcaraz has already chalked up winnings of more than £13million and has banked more than £5million in off-court earnings – a sum that was doubtless boosted by this week’s announcement that he had become the new ‘house ambassador’ for French fashion brand Louis Vuitton.

As well as sponsorship deals with racket makers Babolat and sports giant Nike, the canny young man (he signed with prestigious agency IMG when he was just 11) has deals with Calvin Klein, BMW and Rolex, to name a few. The only thing that’s missing? Someone special with whom to share his success.

Alcaraz is apparently single, having previously dated stunning tennis player Maria Gonzalez Gimenez and glamorous Spanish singer Ana Mena.

But if you think he might be splashing the cash on fast cars and fancy holidays think again for, rather sweetly, Alcaraz admitted that it’s his father, another Carlos, who looks after his finances. And thanks to his sponsor, he gets a new BMW every year.

As he told Vogue: ‘I’m quite young and I’ve got my whims, but I’m very natural, normal, humble. I don’t really pay much attention to brands and cars. If I like something, I try to buy it, but in the end my father takes care of everything.’

None of this comes as a surprise to anyone who knows the sportsman in El Palmar where he grew up, the second of four sporty boys born to dad Carlos and mum Virginia, until recently a shop assistant at IKEA.

Home is an unassuming two-floor penthouse flat, the second floor of which is home to an office (for his dad) and space for the sportsman’s ever-swelling collection of kit. When the Mail visited the sports club where Alcaraz hit his first rallies, his Uncle Tomas Alcaraz was teaching a lesson in padel tennis, an easier form of the game.

Tomas, 46, beamed with pride when talking about his nephew, who picked up his father’s tennis racket at the age of three and used to cry when he was told he had to put it down for dinner.

‘Carlos always wanted to play tennis,’ smiles Tomas. ‘When he was small you’d say to him, ‘Let’s go to the cinema,’ and he’d say, ‘No, let’s go to the club and I can play against the wall or find someone to play against.’ He would say, ‘Uncle, I spent four hours today hitting the ball against the wall,’ and he wasn’t exaggerating.’

Thus began the ‘Carlitos project’ – Alcaraz prefers to be called Carlitos or Charlie rather than Carlos. It was Tomas who took Alcaraz to his first competitive match, aged six or seven.

‘In that first match, he was so small he could just about serve,’ chuckles Tomas. ‘He played against a boy who was three or four years older.

‘He didn’t win the match but I remember him making his opponent run all over the place despite their big age difference. That’s when I saw he was clever at tennis and was able to make spur-of-the moment decisions about how to beat an opponent.’

No doubt the youngster was inspired by Roger Federer, whose poster Alcaraz used to have on his bedroom wall as a child. Underpinning it all, however, were his devoted parents.

It was dad Carlos, says Tomas, who had a ‘fundamental role’ in the shaping of his son’s career. ‘His dad has taken the decisions about when to change his trainers and still plays a part in planning his future path.’

And then, of course, there is grandad Carlos – now in his 80s – and the three Cs, to which we could perhaps add a fourth – chess. Alcaraz is apparently a whizz at the game.

As Carlos senior, who used to run an estate agency, said last year: ‘I have taught all of them [my grandchildren] to play chess, which I think is something that has come in handy for Carlitos when it comes to ordering his mind on court.’

It’s hard to believe there was a time when coaches worried whether Alcaraz would be tall enough to become a champion. His doctor concluded he would probably reach 180cm (5ft11in), with a 5cm margin of error. He turned out to be right, as Alcaraz now stands at 185cm (6ft1in).

Young Alcaraz with his first tennis coach Kiko Navarro

Young Alcaraz with his first tennis coach Kiko Navarro

As well as sponsorship deals with racket makers Babolat and sports giant Nike, the canny young man (he signed with prestigious agency IMG when he was just 11) deals with Calvin Klein, BMW and Rolex, to name a few

As well as sponsorship deals with racket makers Babolat and sports giant Nike, the canny young man (he signed with prestigious agency IMG when he was just 11) deals with Calvin Klein, BMW and Rolex, to name a few

Another image of Alcaraz with his first coach Navarro giving the thumbs up

Another image of Alcaraz with his first coach Navarro giving the thumbs up

It's hard to believe there was a time when coaches worried whether Alcaraz would be tall enough to become a champion

It’s hard to believe there was a time when coaches worried whether Alcaraz would be tall enough to become a champion

Navarro, who worked with Alcaraz from age nine to 17, says the only distraction that ever threatened the player's focus was his mobile phone

Navarro, who worked with Alcaraz from age nine to 17, says the only distraction that ever threatened the player’s focus was his mobile phone

'It was sometimes a source of tension when he was younger because he'd stay up late on the mobile and wouldn't get the amount of rest I thought he should,' he says

‘It was sometimes a source of tension when he was younger because he’d stay up late on the mobile and wouldn’t get the amount of rest I thought he should,’ he says

Navarro said: 'I saw a very quick change when I began trying to make him see there was a team behind him, including a sponsor who was putting in money and time to achieve the objective of turning him into a professional tennis player'

Navarro said: ‘I saw a very quick change when I began trying to make him see there was a team behind him, including a sponsor who was putting in money and time to achieve the objective of turning him into a professional tennis player’

'When he was a kid he would break rackets when he lost a point or a game and I'd have to let him walk around the club on his own and cry and relax before I could talk to him about his attitude,' says Kiko Navarro

‘When he was a kid he would break rackets when he lost a point or a game and I’d have to let him walk around the club on his own and cry and relax before I could talk to him about his attitude,’ says Kiko Navarro

Kiko Navarro, coached Alcaraz, until that task was taken on by former French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero, when he was 17

Kiko Navarro, coached Alcaraz, until that task was taken on by former French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero, when he was 17

These days Alcaraz counts a psychologist among his sizeable entourage and has done since he was a child with a somewhat fiery temper

These days Alcaraz counts a psychologist among his sizeable entourage and has done since he was a child with a somewhat fiery temper

Another image of Alcaraz with coach Navarro in front of a tennis court

Another image of Alcaraz with coach Navarro in front of a tennis court

An image of both  Alcaraz and Navarro posing with Spain flags

An image of both  Alcaraz and Navarro posing with Spain flags

An image of both Alcaraz and Navarro posing with a trophy

An image of both Alcaraz and Navarro posing with a trophy 

Another picture of Alcaraz and Navarro with an award

Another picture of Alcaraz and Navarro with an award

Navarro and an older Alcaraz take a snap in more relaxed wear

Navarro and an older Alcaraz take a snap in more relaxed wear 

Navarro and Alcaraz greet each other with a warm embrace

Navarro and Alcaraz greet each other with a warm embrace 

These days Alcaraz counts a psychologist among his sizeable entourage and has done since he was a child with a somewhat fiery temper.

‘When he was a kid he would break rackets when he lost a point or a game and I’d have to let him walk around the club on his own and cry and relax before I could talk to him about his attitude,’ says Kiko Navarro, who also coached Alcaraz, until that task was taken on by former French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero, when he was 17. ‘But that sort of character is fundamental to someone becoming a winner. Carlos wants to win at everything he does, even board games.’

Navarro, who worked with Alcaraz from age nine to 17, says the only distraction that ever threatened the player’s focus was his mobile phone.

‘It was sometimes a source of tension when he was younger because he’d stay up late on the mobile and wouldn’t get the amount of rest I thought he should,’ he says.

‘But I saw a very quick change when I began trying to make him see there was a team behind him, including a sponsor who was putting in money and time to achieve the objective of turning him into a professional tennis player.’ Uncle Tomas agrees: ‘He’s never had regrets about missing out on some of the things in life that he would have experienced more of if he’d not been so focused on the tennis. His passion for tennis has been stronger than anything else.’

As the player who admits to studying videos of Federer and Murray to hone his grass court skills said earlier this year: ‘I’ve always been a very talented kid. But I’ve always worked hard, because if you’re talented and don’t make an effort you get nowhere.’

Does Alcarez see himself as the new Federer or Nadal?

‘I don’t want to be the next Rafa or Roger,’ he says. ‘I want to be the new Carlitos.’

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