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Jesús Mínguez

Spain falls in love with Supernova Carlos Alcaraz after he wins Madrid Open

Some incredible athletes can leave you cold. They’re ice floes that leave you chilled. But then there are others, who in addition to being sporting geniuses, get you going. They make you leap out of your seat. Get your heart racing. You’d go bungee jumping with them if they asked you, because they make you feel happy and safe. They are individuals with charisma, who, as well as just winning on the pitch, get people to support them, Carlos, or Carlitos (Wee Carlos), Alcaraz is one of them,

Alcaraz wins over Spain

With unrepressed adolescent spontaneity he’s won the heart of all of Spain this week. Tennis fans had been anticipating something incredible, and he delivered, winning the Madrid Open title. After knocking out Nadal, Djokovic and winning the final against Zverev, the name of Alcaraz has gone from tennis club conversations to bar talk in every pub in Spain. The entire country is in love with him.

Every Spaniard has learned the recipe his grandfather Carlos has drilled into him: “head, heart and balls”. Alcaraz is imbued with the spirit of the late, lamented Juanito. (“A match in Madrid is molto longo” he wrote on the camera after beating Djokovic and experiencing Real Madrid’s stunning comeback at the Bernabéu against Manchester City.)

Alcaraz doesn’t hide at press conferences. He’s also got a spirt of fun that is a breath of fresh air (see his dancing on the court to the tune of Happy Birthday). Nadal hasn’t left the building yet, but Carlitos has fully arrived. All of Madrid, all of Spain, the entire world now know his name. There’s a new supernova in the heavens.