2022-Carlos Alcaraz: Madrid Open victory is ‘best week of my life,’ says 19-year-old tennis sensation

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CNN
 — 

In the event you search for “bursting onto the scene” within the dictionary, it’d now provide you with an image of Carlos Alcaraz’s face.

The 19-year-old Spaniard has turn out to be the most popular prospect in tennis after two Masters 1000 titles in the previous couple of months, the latest coming in Madrid on Sunday.

Alcaraz beat defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-1 within the Madrid Open closing, finishing an emphatic event having already overwhelmed Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in earlier rounds.

It’s the younger Spaniard’s fourth title of the 12 months – together with victory on the Miami Open in April – and he’s set to rise to a career-high No. 6 on the earth rankings.

Having received the clay court docket event only a few weeks away from the second grand slam of the 12 months – the French Open at Roland Garros – Alcaraz’s identify is amongst the favorites to problem for the title.

And talking to CNN Sport after “the most effective week of my life” enjoying “unbelievable tennis,” Alcaraz isn’t ruling out lifting his debut grand slam in a couple of weeks’ time.

“I might say I’m one of many favourite gamers to win Roland Garros with the stats and every little thing, however I do know it’s going to be actually, actually tough to win Roland Garros,” Alcaraz informed CNN’s Don Riddell.

“There are lots of nice gamers – Rafa, Djokovic – the most effective gamers on the earth are going to play there. However I believe I’m able to do good outcomes at Roland Garros and I’m able to win Roland Garros.”

Alcaraz lifts the Madrid Open trophy.

Final 12 months, Alcaraz was ranked one hundred and twentieth on the earth and misplaced to Nadal within the second spherical of the Madrid Open.

However fast-forward 12 months and he’s overwhelmed two of the best gamers tennis has ever seen as he establishes himself as a drive to be reckoned with.

In beating Nadal, Djokovic and Zverev, Alcaraz grew to become the primary participant since David Nalbandian in 2007 to defeat three top-four gamers at a single Masters 1000 occasion.

Given his speedy rise and seemingly unflappable nature, it appears nerves aren’t a difficulty for Alcaraz. Nonetheless, he says that’s not the case.

“I’ve nerves, however I’m making an attempt to handle the nerves higher than the opposite one and making an attempt so the opponent doesn’t see that I’m nervous,” he explains. “However belief me, I’ve nerves, lots of nerves.”

Backed by a house crowd on Sunday within the closing, Alcaraz was dominating in opposition to Zverev, flying across the court docket as he belied his age and expertise on an enormous stage.

As somebody who used to look at the event as a child, the Madrid Open held even better significance for Alcaraz.

And his achievements over the previous couple of months haven’t but settled in for the younger star.

“I imply, every little thing got here so quick, two Masters 1000 titles – one on onerous court docket, considered one of clay court docket,” he mentioned.

Alcaraz returns a ball against Zverev.

“So if originally of the season, somebody informed me that I’m going to realize these tournaments – Barcelona as effectively – I didn’t imagine it, I didn’t imagine him. For me, I don’t know what to say about an unbelievable month for me.”

And the strain of being the most important identify in tennis in the meanwhile isn’t daunting Alcaraz.

“It’s good that everybody’s speaking about you and goes to look at your match. For me, it’s fairly good. However it offers me lots of energy to play in the most effective stadiums in opposition to the most effective gamers on the earth. So for me, it’s fairly cool.”

Though he was defeated within the closing, world No. 3 Zverev was stuffed with reward for Alcaraz.

The German referred to as the Spaniard the “finest participant on the earth” after showering him in champagne through the trophy ceremony.

Nonetheless, Zverev criticized the ATP Tour for its scheduling of late-night matches through the Madrid Open, saying that whereas he didn’t “wish to take something away” from Alacaraz, he would have carried out higher had gamers been given extra time to relaxation.

“The ATP’s job was an absolute shame this week,” Zverev said. “To play a closing in opposition to Carlos Alcaraz, who for me is the most effective participant on the earth proper now, in a Masters 1000 occasion … it’s tough. I had no coordination right now. I had no coordination on my serve, I had no coordination on my groundstrokes. I missed two overheads that have been tremendous simple as a result of I see the ball and every little thing is transferring in my eyes.

“I used to be just a little bit late all the time. My first step was not so fast. If you’re enjoying the most effective gamers on the earth, it’s a must to be at your prime. In any other case, you’ll have no likelihood. Right this moment, I had no likelihood.”

Zverev looks on during the Madrid Open final against Alcaraz.

He continued: “I believe all of us have stayed up late, all of us possibly partied typically, however if you’re staying up till 4 a.m., the following day you might be useless. I performed the following day. In the event you’re doing it once more, the following day till 5 a.m., you’ll have a tough time to be even awake.

“I don’t wish to take something away (from Carlos),” Zverev mentioned. “I really feel unhappy for the ultimate that we performed as a result of this might have been an excellent match. This might have been a fantastic match.

“It takes away the game of tennis. All people wished to see a fantastic battle. All people wished to see some high-level tennis. However I’m additionally human. I’m not a robotic. I can’t. I merely I can’t be on my degree when that is occurring each single night time.”

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