It was in Toronto that the best tennis player in the world, Carlos Alcaraz, was finally able to meet the person who had long been his idol and his “crush”, Maria Sharapova.
The 20-year-old was training at United’s academy when he met the man who has dominated his game since the mid-2000s. Five-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova retired in 2020.
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The Instagram account of the tennis academy of Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former player and now coach of Alcaraz, published the photo. Except that the original caption was misleading, as the Spaniard and the Russian were referred to as ‘two ex-number 1s’. Alcaraz is still the best player in the world, having booked his place at Wimbledon at the expense of Novak Djokovic.
“I was in shock because I didn’t expect her to be here in Toronto,” he told a news conference on Wednesday. She was the first one in the elevator and I thought, “Is that Maria?” you see what I mean?”
Alcaraz said, “I’ve had a crush on him since I started playing tennis.” I was excited to see her in person. She was very charming and congratulated me on winning the Wimbledon tournament.
In addition to being No. 1 in their sport, Alcaraz and Sharapova have the similarity of having won a Grand Slam before the age of 21. Rafael Nadal’s worthy successor already has two.
“Carlos is amazing. Happy to meet the Spaniard, Sharapova told “Gazzetta dello Sport”, what attracted me the most about him was his combativeness on every point. He manages to perform brilliantly and charm the crowd whenever he takes to the field. I can’t wait to see his progress. I look forward to seeing what he can do.”
In Toronto on Thursday evening, Alcaraz was scheduled to have his round of 16 duel against Pole Hubert Hercaz.