Naomi Osaka says the rise of Carlos Alcaraz on the ATP Tour has been a breath of fresh air and made everyone excited and keen to watch his growth with every tournament.
Alcaraz is having an incredible year rising from a ranking of 120 in May 2021 to world number nine this week, the youngest player to reach the top ten since Rafael Nadal.
After winning the ATP Next Gen finals last November, 18-year-old Alcaraz has started 2022 with incredible momentum with an impressive 23 - 3 win loss record so far.
The young Spaniard has won three titles so far in Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona and reached the semi-finals in Indian Wells and Osaka says she is enjoying watching his incredible progress.
"I feel like he's genuinely made everyone excited about the ATP and I haven't seen that in a very long time," Osaka told reporters at the Caja Magica, where she is about to play the Madrid Open.
Although most of the outside interest in Alcaraz seems to focus on comparisons with his compatriot Rafael Nadal and his young age, Osaka says it is more his attitude and playing style that makes his stand out from his competitors.
"I'm not even really thinking about his age, like every time someone brings up his age, I'm like, 'Oh wow, I forget, that's so cool'," said Osaka.
"I think just his game style, just how pumped he is, how I feel like I'm watching him learn with every tournament.
"I don't know what his ranking was last year here, but I've watched almost every tournament that he's played, the US Open when he played (Stefanos) Tsitsipas and just to see the growth I think is really exciting for everyone."
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