Carlos Alcaraz slowly approaches through a reserved area of the Caja Mágica until he ends up surrounded by fifty reporters. On one side, the person in charge of the ATP of officiating the match and on the other, his inseparable agent, the man who shapes the splendid present of the tennis player and his juicy future. The Murcian lands in Madrid after winning his second trophy in Barcelona and over the next two weeks he will defend the title he achieved a year ago, with the possibility of returning to the top of the ranking if it triumphs again in the San Fermín neighborhood and then parades through Rome.
The boy wears an orange sweatshirt and shoes, and light pants. He hits the sun hard and expresses himself happily. “Physically I feel fine, one hundred percent. I really want to start and with the level I reached at Godó I come here with a lot of confidence”, introduces the number two, who in his brief tour of the elite has already managed to win nine trophies, three of them this season. Madrid, once again, will be a more than demanding test due to the rigor of the conditions. “We know that it’s not easy here because of the altitude and so on, but we have a few days to train,” he says.
This course has only lost a couple of games and embraces the sweet habit of victory. Wherever he goes, he carries the favorite sign and given the performance of the week in Pedralbes, he repeats the condition. There’s him, and then the others. “When we go to each tournament, we think we can win it and we are going to try. But, if we don’t do it, for me it would not be a failure ”, he points out; “Leaving the tournament thinking that I have failed would be because of the level that I have shown or because of the attitude, which for me is the most important thing. If I’m fine upside down, playing at a good level, if I lose I wouldn’t take it as a failure”.
The great totem will not step on the Madrid sand this year earthling, Rafael Nadal, nor will the king of the circuit, Novak Djokovic. The Mallorcan is precisely the one who once again raises the bar; he is, after all, the only player who has been able to defend the title in Madrid, from 2013 to 2014. “When I go to a tournament, I always want to win it and I think I am capable of winning it. Playing here is super special for me, and I don’t lose that illusion. We are going to try to win it this year too, but the Rafa thing and the comparisons is something I don’t think about, ”he continues, aware that he is being followed by the giant’s shadow.
enjoy and make enjoy
“I’ve always said that getting number one is an objective, but facing Roland Garros it doesn’t change much to be one or two,” he continues; “We are not thinking about defending points, but about enjoying, because that is how my best version comes out. I want to enjoy and make enjoy. My style of play is very happy, I try to do different things; That comes out of me when I’m enjoying myself, when I get a smile. When in the middle of the game we see that I’m having a moment of anger or bad, we make jokes to get that smile out of me and to change my perspective of watching the match.
Without even reaching twenty, Alcaraz lives at full speed, above the age indicated on his ID. However, he retains the essence of the boy from the town and in the rally is where evolution is truly perceived. “I don’t think my game has changed much, what has really changed is that in a year I have experienced very good moments and also regular moments. I have gained experience from all those moments. The difference from Carlos last year to Carlos now is that I have gained maturity and that I have more experience, ”he explains with a slightly congested tone.
Champion in Buenos Aires, Indian Wells and Godó, he tries to channel the expectation in the opposite direction; responsibly, but without slabs, or at least the minimum possible. Demanded here and there, in all kinds of acts and by all kinds of commercial brands, it metabolizes the impact as it can and places exclusively today. “I don’t take it as pressure, but completely the other way around, as motivation. I like to play in front of so many fans and even more so if it’s here, in Spain, in front of my people”, concludes the man from El Palmar.
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