Carlos Alcaraz: The Madrid Open victory is “the best week of my life,” says the 19-year-old player



CNN

If you search for “break into the scene” in the dictionary, it may now come up with an image of that of Carlos Alcaraz face.

The 19 year old Spanish has become the hottest prospect in tennis after two Masters 1000 titles in recent months, the last one arrived on Sunday in Madrid.

Alcaraz beat defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-1 in the Madrid Open final, completing an emphatic tournament having already beaten Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in previous rounds.

It is the fourth title of the year for the young Spaniard, including victory at the Miami Open in April, and is set to reach the highest number in his career. 6 in the world rankings.

After winning the clay court tournament just weeks before the second Grand Slam of the year – the French Open at Roland Garros – Alcaraz is one of the favorites for the title challenge.

And speaking with CNN Sports after “the best week of my life” playing “incredible tennis”, Alcaraz does not rule out lifting his Grand Slam debut in a few weeks.

“I’d say I’m one of the favorite players to win Roland Garros with the stats and all, but I know it’s going to be really, really hard to win Roland Garros,” Alcaraz told CNN’s Don Riddell.

“There are many great players – Rafa, Djokovic – the best players in the world will play there. But I think I’m ready to do good results at Roland Garros and I’m ready to win Roland Garros. ”

Alcaraz lifts the Madrid Open trophy.

Last year, Alcaraz ranked 120th in the world and lost to Nadal in the second round of the Madrid Open.

But he advances 12 months and has beaten two of the greatest players tennis has ever seen while establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.

By beating Nadal, Djokovic and Zverev, Alcaraz became the first player since David Nalbandian in 2007 to defeat three of the top four players in a single Masters 1000 event.

Given his rapid rise and seemingly unflappable nature, it seems nerves aren’t a problem for Alcaraz. However, he says that’s not the case.

“I have nerves, but I’m trying to manage my nerves better than the other and I try not to let the opponent see that I’m nervous,” he explains. “But believe me, I have nerves, many nerves.”

Backed by his home crowd on Sunday in the final, Alcaraz dominated against Zverev, flying onto the pitch because he believed his age and experience on a huge stage.

As someone who used to watch the tournament as a child, the Madrid Open held even greater significance for Alcaraz.

And her successes in recent months have not yet stabilized for the young star.

“I mean, it all came so fast, two Masters 1000 titles: one on hard court and one on clay,” he said.

Alcaraz returns a ball against Zverev.

“So if at the beginning of the season someone told me that I would take them to these tournaments – even Barcelona – I didn’t believe them, I didn’t believe them. For me, I don’t know what to say about an incredible month for me.”

And the pressure of being the biggest name in tennis right now doesn’t deter Alcaraz.

“It’s good that everyone is talking about you and watching your game. For me it is good enough. But it gives me a lot of power to play in the best stadiums against the best players in the world. So for me it’s pretty cool. ”

Despite being defeated in the final, the No. 3 Zverev was full of praise for Alcaraz.

The German called the Spaniard the “best player in the world” after showering him with champagne during the trophy ceremony.

However, Zverev criticized the ATP Tour for scheduling night games during the Madrid Open, saying that while he didn’t want to “take anything away” from Alacaraz, he would have done better if the players had more time to rest.

“The work of the ATP was a real disgrace this week,” Zverev She said. “Playing a final against Carlos Alcaraz, who for me is the best player in the world right now, in a Masters 1000 event… is difficult. I had no coordination today. I didn’t have coordination on serve, I didn’t have coordination on baseline shots. I skipped two overheads which were super easy because I see the ball and everything is moving in my eyes.

“I’ve always been a little late. My first step wasn’t that fast. If you are playing with the best players in the world, you have to be on top. Otherwise, you will have no chance. I didn’t have a chance today. ”

He continued: “I think all of us have been up late, we may have all celebrated sometimes, but if you stay up until 4 in the morning, the next day you are dead. I played the next day. If you do it again, the next day until 5am, you will have a hard time even being awake.

“I don’t want to take anything away (from Carlos),” Zverev said. “I’m sorry for the final we played because this could have been a great match. This could have been a great match.

“It takes away the sport of tennis. Everyone wanted to see a great battle. Everyone wanted to see top-notch tennis. But I’m also human. I am not a robot. I cannot. I just can’t be on my level when this happens every single night.