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’s the young Spaniard’s fourth title of the year – including a victory at the Miami Open in April – and he should climb to a career-high No. 6 in the world rankings.
After winning the clay-court tournament a few weeks before the second grand slam of the year, the French Open at Roland Garros, Alcaraz’s name is among the favorites for the title.
“I would say I’m one of the favorite players to win Roland Garros with the stats and everything, but I know it’s going to be really, really tough to win Roland Garros,” Alcaraz told CNN’s Don Riddell.
“There are a lot of great players – Rafa, Djokovic – the best players in the world are going to play there. But I think I’m ready to do well at Roland Garros and I’m ready to win Roland Garros.”
Last year, Alcaraz was ranked 120th in the world and lost to Nadal in the second round of the Madrid Open.
But 12 months later he has beaten two of the greatest tennis players of all time as he establishes 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.
Considering his rapid rise and seemingly unflappable nature, it seems nerves aren’t an issue for Alcaraz. However, he says that is not the case.
“I have nerves, but I try to manage the 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, lots of nerves.”
Supported by a home crowd on Sunday in the final, Alcaraz dominated against Zverev, flying around the pitch as he belied his age and experience on a huge stage.
As someone who watched the tournament as a child, the Madrid Open held even greater significance for Alcaraz.
And his exploits of recent months are not yet settled for the young star.
“I mean, it all came so fast, two Masters 1000 titles – one on hard courts, one on clay,” he said.
“So if at the beginning of the season someone told me that I was going to win these tournaments – Barcelona too – I didn’t believe it, I didn’t believe it. For me, I don’t know what to say about an amazing 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’s pretty good. But it gives me a lot of power to play in the best stadiums against the best players in the world. So for me, that’s pretty cool.”
“An absolute shame”
Despite being beaten in the final, world number 3 Zverev is 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 slammed the ATP Tour for its late-night schedule of matches at the Madrid Open, saying that while he didn’t “want to take anything away” from Alacaraz, he would have performed better if the players had had more time to rest. .
“I was a bit late all the time. My first step wasn’t so fast. If you’re up against the best players in the world, you have to be on top. Otherwise, you won’t have a chance. Today , I had no chance.”
He continued: “I think we’ve all stayed up late, maybe we’ve all partied sometimes, but if you stay up until 4 a.m. the next day, you’re dead. I played the If you do it again, the next day until 5 a.m., you will find it difficult to be awake again.
“I don’t want to take anything away (from Carlos),” Zverev said. “I’m sad for the final we played because it could have been a really good game. It could have been a great game.
“It takes the sport away from tennis. Everybody wanted to see a big fight. Everybody wanted to see high-level tennis. But I’m also human. I’m not a robot. I can’t. I can’t do everything. just don’t be on my level when it happens every night.”