Alcaraz defeated defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-1 in the Madrid Open final, completing an emphatic tournament after beating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in previous rounds.
It’s the young Spaniard’s fourth title of the year — including the Miami Open in April — and he will rise to a career-high No. 6 in the world rankings.
After winning the clay-court tournament just weeks away from the second grand slam of the year — the French Open at Roland Garros — Alcaraz is among the favorites to fight for the title.
“I’d 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 very, very hard to win Roland Garros,” Alcaraz told DailyExpertNews’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 get good results at Roland Garros and I’m ready to win Roland Garros.”
Last year Alcaraz was in 120th place in the world and lost to Nadal in the second round of the Madrid Open.
But fast forward 12 months and he has beaten two of the best 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 beat three top four players in a single Masters 1000 event.
Given his meteoric rise and seemingly unflappable nature, it seems that nerves are no problem for Alcaraz. However, he says that is not the case.
“I have nerves, but I try to control the nerves better than the others and try to make sure the opponent doesn’t see that I’m nervous,” he explains. “But believe me, I have nerves, a lot of nerves.”
Supported by a home crowd on Sunday in the final, Alcaraz dominated against Zverev and soared across the field believing his age and experience on a huge stage.
As someone who watched the tournament as a child, the Madrid Open was even more important to Alcaraz.
And his achievements in recent months have not yet settled the young star.
“I mean, everything came so quickly, two Masters 1000 titles — one on hard court, one on clay,” he said.
“So when someone told me at the beginning of the season that I’m going to make it to these tournaments – Barcelona too – I didn’t believe it, I didn’t believe him. I know what to say about an incredible month for me.”
And the pressure to be the biggest name in tennis right now doesn’t deter Alcaraz.
“It’s good that everyone is talking about you and going to watch your game. For me it’s pretty good. But it gives me a lot of strength to play in the best stadiums against the best players in the world. So for me it’s pretty cool .”
‘An absolute disgrace’
Although he was defeated in the final, world number 3 Zverev was full of praise for Alcaraz.
The German called the Spaniard the “best player in the world” after showering him in champagne during the trophy ceremony.
However, Zverev criticized the ATP Tour for scheduling late-night matches at the Madrid Open, saying that while he didn’t want to “take anything away” from Alacaraz, he would have performed better if players had been given more time to rest.
“I was a bit late all the time. My first step was not so fast. When you play against the best players in the world, you have to be at your top. Otherwise you have no chance. Today I didn’t have a chance.”
He continued: “I think we all stayed up late, we all partied once, but if you stay up until 4am you’re dead the next day. I played the next day. If you do it again , the next day until 5 a.m. you will have a hard time even being awake.
“I don’t want to take anything (from Carlos),” Zverev said. “I feel sad about the final we played because this could have been a really good game. This could have been a great game.
“It takes away the sport of tennis. Everyone wanted to see a great fight. Everyone wanted to see tennis at a high level. But I’m also human. I’m not a robot. I can’t. I just can’t be at my level like this happens every night.”