Madrid Masters 2023: Alcaraz returns to the top: “I am an ambitious boy, a finals player” | Sports

Carlos Alcaraz enters the conference room and just before ascending the two steps of the base, rectifies the march: “Sorry…”. The Madrid champion is thirsty and goes to his agent, who takes a bottle from the bag and satisfies him; the metallic and gaseous sound of the opening is followed by a long drink, followed by the reflections of the champion. The boy transmits happiness, but at the same time the feeling that the work is far from finished. Hungry, he wants more. Dejected Jan-Lennard Struff (6-4, 3-6 and 6-3) and achieved his tenth title in the elite, he has no time to lose and this Monday he will head to Paris to attend the Laureus Awards gala, as candidate for Revelation Athlete of 2022.

Alcaraz has everyone in his pocket, the world of sports aware that it is witnessing the growth of a global phenomenon. “I feel very proud of the achievements that I am achieving”, he assessed before the journalists, after obtaining his fourth title of the course and, in parallel, his fourth Masters 1000. The latter serves him to intensify the attack against Novak Djokovic and displace the Serbian of the throne, since this week he will participate in Rome and, therefore, will recover the number one that the Balkan snatched from him at the end of January, when Nole was crowned in Australia. Back at the top; again, Alcaraz at the head of a squad that observes the evolution absorbed in him.

“He is the most complete tennis player I have seen at his age. Federer didn’t win his first major until he was 21; Raph [Nadal] he won it with 19, but he wasn’t good on all surfaces. Alcaraz doesn’t really have any weak points”, expressed the American Andy Roddick to the Tennis Channel, in a feeling that is beginning to spread widely among professionals. The technical and competitive maturity of the Spaniard surprises and impacts, who at 20 years old displays a completely unusual catalog because to the flashes he adds an unusual instinct, rarely seen. He has punches, physique and appetite. Above all, desire.

“Next week it will be number one again and I think it will stay there for a long time. He has no weaknesses and I love how he moves. Seeing him play is impressive”, praised the legendary Björn Borg, in a statement collected by the Eurosport channel. The historic Chris Evert, champion of 18 greats, adds to the opinion. “He has it all: he knows how to attack, he knows how to defend and he knows how to move. He has no cracks, he’s crazy. He is prepared to win Roland Garros, as long as he stays healthy; he is playing a lot, ”said the American in the same medium.

Winner for the second time in a row in Madrid, the man from El Palmar has revalidated his success based on conviction and faith, beyond his quality. Struff did not make it easy for him, he responded from start to finish, but he managed to carry out a duel that went awry more than expected. “I am one of the players who, when he plays badly, is capable of taking games forward,” he says. “With my team we have commented that, in 80% of the games of a year, you do not play at the level you want. Those days cost double. You have to know how to overcome. Those games add double. I play at a high level on days when I don’t feel comfortable, and that makes me consistently get results,” he adds.

Go for Chang and Courier

Alcaraz says that these days he has enjoyed more than what he has suffered, beyond a couple of hot flashes and the final taking an unwanted turn, and that he is satisfied that its impact is hooking more people to his sport. “I am glad to know that I am transmitting to people the desire to watch tennis, it is a sport that is my life and my passion, I love it. That now people practice it for me is wonderful”, continues the tennis player who has won the most trophies in 2023 – four, the same as the Russian Daniil Medvedev – and who has offered the best performance up to this point of the year; his victory in Madrid lifts him to first place in the annual race and between the Foro Itálico and Roland Garros he aspires to reinforce the harvest.

Alcaraz serves during the final against Struff.
Alcaraz serves during the final against Struff.INMA FLOWERS

At the moment, Alcaraz has made it to the full in the finals that he has played in the Masters 1000 (4/4) and intends to hunt down Michael Chang and Jim Courier (5/5). For this it will be essential that he respects his body, which forced him to start the year late since he could not compete until February.

“What worries me for the future? Injuries, you have to try to take care of yourself as much as possible. The mental issue, the possibility of getting tired of winning, traveling or playing tennis, does not worry me because I know it will not happen. What may worry me in the future is the issue of injuries, it is what we are going to try to take care of together with my team; every day, there will be none to relax me. We are going to try to take maximum care of the small discomforts that arise, which are normal for a tennis player,” settled the winner, convinced that his stay at the top could be lasting and that he is ready to deliver the big blow in the Bois de Boulogne, the goal that is between his eyebrows.


AC | Madrid

Alcaraz was awarded this Monday within the framework of the Laureus awards. After winning in Madrid, the Murcian traveled with his team and his family to Paris, where he greeted footballer Lionel Messi, who was recognized as Sportsman of the Year. The tennis player, for his part, was chosen as the Revelation of 2022, the course of his great explosion; figures such as Rafael Nadal, Lewis Hamilton, Roy McIlroy or Naomi Osaka previously triumphed in this category. He presented him with the Luis Figo trophy.

This Monday the draw for the Masters 1000 in Rome was also held and Alcaraz already knows who his potential entry rivals are. Exempt from the first round, due to his second-seeded status, the Murcian will face the Catalan Albert Ramos (35 years old and 72nd) or the Italian Francesco Passaro (22nd and 126th), cited in the first season.

The man from El Palmar is only five points behind Novak Djokovic in the ranking and it would ensure his return to the top of the ATP even if he lost, because it would add 10. Both are on opposite sides of the draw, so they could only meet in the final. The 35-year-old Serbian returns after his absence in Monte Carlo and Madrid, which he resigned by his own decision after losing in the quarterfinals of the Banja Luka tournament, against Dusan Lajovic, on April 21.

On the other hand, Roger Federer ruled on the prolonged loss of Nadal, away from the competition since January 18 due to an injury to the iliopsoas. The Swiss, retired since September, at the age of 41, stated in statements to the Sky Sports channel: “It would be very hard for tennis if Rafa [37 años el 3 de junio] I couldn’t go to Roland Garros. I hope she recovers. I also know that Novak hasn’t played much lately either, so I hope he comes in strong as well.”

You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.

Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits