Starting 2022 as number 32 in the world, Carlos Alcaraz made his way to the top in no time and claimed in only 12 months not only his first Grand Slam title at the US-Open but also finished the year as world’s number one. At Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi the only 19-year-old Spaniard made his return to the court after an injury break and talked about his way to success as well as the challenges that come with it…
How does it feel to be here and physically how are you feeling after your injury?
I feel good finally. I had a month to recover and right now I feel I’m 100 percent. I’ve been training normally this past week, so I am feeling great. And of course it is great to be here and to be able to train with top players, that I’m not able to train with, when I’m in the academy. The weather here is similar to Australia to prepare for the beginning of the season. For me it’s great to be able to adapt myself to the weather and to the surface and to play with the best.
“I enjoy playing tennis and I am number one thanks to that”Carlos Alcaraz
Do you feel like you have less freedom on court, since you are the number one?
It’s gonna change the mentality of myself, but not my game. I enjoy playing tennis and I am number one thanks to that, so I’m not gonna change it. I gonna try to improve, but I’m trying to play the same as I did this year. But of course it’s gonna be a bit different for me next year and I have to be prepared.
How do you deal with the success mentally?
I gonna start the year as number one. Probably the first time I gonna be the seat numer one of a tournament and all the players have the target on me. Every player wants to play against the number one in the world. I have to be prepared for that – the pressure of the people and the players as well. I’ll have all the eyes on me and I have to be prepared for that. Right now I’m focussing on the pre-season and trying to do as best as I can to prove a lot this month. In the new season I’ll try to do the same thing as in the last one: enjoy playing tennis, enjoy to be on court and to show my level and my game. And I think, the success gonna come with that.
Did you feel your success coming in the beginning of 2022?
It’s tough to realise, that I will play a Grand Slam at seat number one. That’s something I didn’t expect at the beginning of 2022. A lot of things have changed in just one year and all I can say is, that I gonna try to finish 2023 at the same position as right now. It’s gonna be a long year, but of course I gonna enjoy.
⠀“I see myself similar to Roger Federer.”⠀
Are you dissapointed that you play at the end of the era of the big three?
If the biggest players were at their top moments, I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am right now. It’s tough, but honestly I thought about it more than once, what it would be like to play against the big three or to play against Juan Carlos in his best.
To which one of the big three do you relate the most or do you see yourself as a combination of them?
I heard a lot of people saying that I’m a mixed player from the big three, but I see myself similar to Roger Federer.
What’s the most challenging thing in tennis to you?
To play against your rivals when you’ve reached a certain level, to face your idol, to face players that you saw in TV. I would say that’s the most challenging thing in tennis.
What is the best advice YOUR COACH Juan Carlos Ferrero has ever given to you?
We’ve had four years together now and probably the best advice I received from him so far is to try to play the same in a match and in the training – not to worry if I miss in the match or don’t find my best level, but to keep trying in the match and on the other hand to train like it’s a match.
Photo: © IMAGO / PanoramiC