Still unable to digest his recent successes, Carlos Alcaraz was in Madrid this Monday at the presentation of his alliance with BMW. In his talk with the media, Carlitos acknowledged “not having assimilated yet” what he has achieved these weeks since, as soon as he won the US Open and becoming number one in the ATP ranking, he went “directly to Davis”, where he managed to qualify the Spanish team for the final phase of the tournament.
In Valencia, Alcaraz was able to play his first two matches as world number one, and the one from El Palmar confessed that this privileged position makes him face matches differently. “I have noticed it in my confidence, now I feel more confident in myself, I am more sure of my shots. I have noticed that this has changed.” admitted the Murcian, who also explained the change he has seen in his rivals. “Before they felt the pressure of not wanting to lose and that made them play worse. Now they come in without pressure, motivated with less to lose.”
The proclamation of Alcaraz as champion of the US Open and number one in the world is one more step in the new cycle to which, little by little, the men’s circuit is beginning. Asked about which rivals, along with himself, could make up a new Big Three, Carlitos did not hesitate to answer: “Sinner, without a doubt, and Zverev”. And about a possible future rivalry, Alcaraz pointed to the Italian again. “I think that with Sinner there is going to be a very nice rivalry. Our games are worth watching, we have already shown it. For the public they are very good, playing them not so much. We are going to play great games at great times. We are also friends off the track, like Rafa and Roger”. Despite this, the Spaniard does not want to compare himself too much with the three players who have dominated for more than a decade. “I don’t pay much attention to the Big Three, why are you going to compare yourself? I just started and they have won everything. I go my way. It is not a pressure to think that I am improving what they did when I was 19 years old”.
After several consecutive weeks of competition, the 19-year-old tennis player now faces a few days of rest in which he will return home. “I want to get home and meet my family again. My parents were at Davis, but I was thinking of other things. I look forward to sitting down with my family, eating with them and hanging out. I think about tennis almost all year round and there are times when you get saturated and want to disconnect. Being with them helps. With my friends I meet at a house or in a bank and we talk, for me that is the star plan. However, the year is far from over for Carlitos, who recounted the schedule he has until the end of the season. “I have Astana, Basel, Paris, the ATP Finals and Davis. We are going to try to finish the year as number one”.
An appointment in which Alcaraz will not be will be in the Laver Cup that takes place this week in London, although Carlitos admitted that the possibility of participating in it was on the table. “There was talk. We all discussed the answer, but for sporting reasons it was a long time competing and we had to rest. Playing the Laver, which is a beautiful competition, would have been nice, but we decided it was better to think about the future”. This event will also be the last of the race for Roger Federer, one of the idols of Murcia. “I have always wanted to face him, it will not be possible. But better that way than to have left with a defeat”he said between laughs. “What to say about him. It is pure talent, class, elegance. It has been a gift for sports fans. I am proud to have been able to see him, to learn from him. He is one of my idols and I hope he can last as long as he has lasted. And earn what he has earned, or a quarter of it. With that I am satisfied”.
However, despite going through a more than sweet moment, the Murcian keeps his feet on the ground and remembers the advice that “the people around me” have always given him. “Always be humble, with your people, don’t let the results rise above you. Knowing where you come from is the best advice I’ve ever been given.” Aware of this, Alcaraz spoke of the aspects to improve. “Everything, I would like to improve everything. Nobody is perfect, you always have to follow. You cannot stagnate and you have to keep improving. There are many tennis players who work to improve you and you cannot be left behind. I have always said that you have to improve day by day, you have to improve yourself. There I do compare it with the Big Three because every day they have been better, they have looked for ways to improve and I look for that”.
Finally, the possibility of playing against Rafa Nadal at the new Santiago Bernabéu, the home of Real Madrid, which he publicly supports, was also raised. “I would love to play at the Bernabéu, and even more so with Rafa. Although I understand that right now Rafa throws more against Federer, it would be beautiful to see. I hope they tell me, I’m delighted, ”said Carlitos who lives a dream with emotion. “I dreamed of being number one in the world and winning a Grand Slam. It’s time to keep dreaming, keep winning tournaments and be among the best for as long as possible”.