Playing in his first full season on the ATP Tour, Carlos Alcaraz is off to a great start. Having made it to the 3rd round of the 2022 Australian Open only to lose in 5-sets against World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini not without making the Italian grind hard, Carlos has already broken into the Top-20 of the ATP rankings.
The Spaniard won his second career title at the 2022 Rio Open, an ATP-500 event played on the Clay courts where he defeated Berrettini on his way to the finals and then beat the favourite Diego Schwartzman in the finals in a thrilling fashion given that the Argentine is a clay specialist. The title in Rio was Alcaraz’s second on the Tour so far and the biggest having previously won the ATP-250 Croatia Open 2021.
As he wraps up a successful Davis Cup debut bringing in the win for Spain, the young gun recently talked with Spanish daily Marca about his growth as a player with the title in Rio and about playing the top-ranked players including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. While Alcaraz celebrated his 18th birthday last year at the Madrid Open with a match against Nadal, he is yet to compete against Djokovic.
“Yes, I want to face Djokovic and play with Rafa again. I am more mature and I manage my emotions better if I watch the match I played with Nadal in Madrid. If I play with him, it will be different. They may beat me up, but I think it will be different,” said Alcaraz during the interview looking ready to take on the tougher assignments.
“This is nothing” Carlos Alcaraz’s coach to him after winning in Rio
The win in Rio saw Carlos become the youngest player to break into the Top-20 since Nadal did in 2004 and overtook Djokovic and Roger Federer. Carlos also now has more ATP-500 clay titles than Federer and Novak both as the two 20-time Grand Slam champions are yet to win an ATP-500 clay title. Despite this, Carlos’ coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero continues to keep his ward on the ground.
“It may be that I celebrated it (win in Rio) a little more (than the win in Croatia). The fact that there were more people on the team bench, that my brother was also there, made me especially excited, well, yes. It was the celebration that came out of me at the time. I took out everything that I had accumulated from the whole week for the many things that we went through.
“He (Ferrero) congratulated me and that we have to continue training, that this has just begun, that this is nothing. The joke we have is that he told me: ‘You haven’t tied anyone yet and you have to keep your feet on the ground’,” added Alcaraz who has now taken his flight for the United States to play in the 2022 Indian Wells Masters having lost in the first round last year to Andy Murray in 3-sets.