Carlos Alcaraz beats Jeremy Chardy in straight sets at Wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz cruises in to the second round of Wimbledon as the world No 1 beats Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in straight sets in less than two hours

  • World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz has been tipped to rival Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon 
  • He cruised into the second round with a straight sets win over Jeremy Chardy 
  • Chardy, 36, waved goodbye to the crowd after the game ahead of his retirement 
  • Latest Wimbledon 2023 news, including schedule, travel updates and results

He is a player whose success these championships are crying out for. An individual whose mere six matches on grass before this summer mean we can probably calculate little but whose searing, occasionally glittering, arrival provided a hint that there really will be compelling competitive intensity come a possible endgame with Novak Djokovic.

Carlos Alcaraz won in just under two hours as the rain battered down on the Court One roof, with a precision and economy of movement which suggested that his exquisite baseline drop shot, and the metronomic accuracy will be signatures of the next two weeks.

The drop shot materialised in the second game of the second set – a pronounced motion to loop the ball high and land it stone dead from just inside the court. There was a lob of such outrageous precision that he apologised to his opponent, Jeremy Chardy for it.

You’d think butter wouldn’t melt, with the beaming Alcaraz smile, infectious enthusiasm and the courtesies, all a part of the ‘Carlitos’ package which has just made him a new face of Vogue. But there was a very telling moment as the US Open and Queen’s champion looked to attack two break points in the third set.

Alacaraz fell away as he reached for a regulation baseline forehand and sent the shot long – his fourth unforced error in more than an hour of tennis. He cursed himself, glowering as he stared at the turf. He was still muttering disgruntlement as Chardy made to serve. They say he likes the ‘little Carlos’ moniker but it is dangerously deceptive. His near 100 per cent effectiveness in attacking phases of tennis – a new AI-generated data introduced by the BBC – demonstrated the threat.

Carlos Alcaraz beat Jeremy Chardy in straight sets to reach the second round of Wimbledon

It was the final game of Chardy’s career as he waved goodbye to the crowd after the defeat

Comparisons with Alcaraz are not something his compatriot Rafael Nadal greatly likes. ‘It will be better if you stop comparing him to me,’ Nadal said last year. ‘We cannot be thinking all the time about how I was and how he is today.’

And those comparisons do not reflect the very different kind of game that the 20-year-old – the youngest men’s No 1 seed here since Boris Becker in 1987 – brings. There is the obvious height differential – Alacaraz extracts greater advantage from his height – and the forehand power is also superior to Nadal’s. None in the world have a power to match the way he hits the ball or the amount of topspin he extracts. That’s where he brings electricity.

The ease of the No 1 seed’s progression must be viewed in the context of the struggle of his French opponent, who could not find anything like the game he brought when he was ranked inside the world’s top 30. Chardy, 36, for whom this was a swansong, was beset by nerves which even made the ball toss a challenge in a first set which Alcaraz had cleared away inside 22 minutes.

He has been on the way back from knee surgery but finally found some freedom in the third, breaking for the first time with a forehand, baseline to baseline, to lead 4-2. Alcaraz raised his intensity to break right back. It was during the fight to reassume supremacy that the No 1 seed generated greatest racket speed on the forehand weapon, breaking for 6-5 and then closing out.

In his interview at the end, Alcaraz displayed the full boyish demeanour, with his English still broken in these formative years of a life in this international sporting community. ‘I’m very lucky to experience the love in every country I go,’ he said. He will face the winner of the match between Alexandre Muller, world No 84, and Arthur Rinderknech, two rankings higher, who took a set off him at Queen’s.

Bigger challenges ahead but this felt like a portent for the fortnight ahead and all that it seems destined to bring a glittering contributor to the contest.

It was a comfortable win for Alcaraz (right) who laid down a serious Wimbledon marker

The world No 1 looked at home on the grass surface after winning Queen’s last weekend

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