Roland Garros

Alcaraz: “I want to leave my mark at Roland Garros”

The year will play the final on Sunday against Alexander Zverev

June 07, 2024

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Alcaraz, celebrating his pass to the Roland Garros final.
By Staff

The first thing Carlos Alcaraz does when leaving the court after more than four hours of playing is to get on the bike for 20 minutes to begin his recovery. The second thing, of course, is to look at his phone and discover a stack of messages congratulating him for having defeated Jannik Sinner, thus qualifying for his first Roland Garros final, the third that he will play in a Grand Slam.

When he finishes pedaling, the No. 3 in the PIF ATP Rankings spends some time doing hot and cold water contrast baths and finally eats a little to continue putting his body in order after the demanding match against the Italian, whom he now dominates by 5-4 his Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

Then, Alcaraz appears in the press room and answers the journalists’ questions for almost half an hour, before attending to the televisions and going to his hotel to rest, already thinking about the last step that lies ahead.

“It was a very complicated game, but I am very happy to have pulled it off and to know that I have learned from the situations I have experienced until today,” the 21-year-old started. “There are moments in which I have not been well mentally and they have taken a toll on me… today I have changed it, I have been positive all the time, I have been strong in the head and I have not gone away at any time. For me, it is a pride to know that I am not tripping over the same stone.”

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Alcaraz does not say it explicitly, but his words point in a clear direction: the semifinal match that he lost in 2023 against Novak Djokovic, and in which he was surprised by cramps after winning the second set, a consequence of the tension of the crossing. It is clear that the Spaniard took note to overcome a similar situation a year after that episode against the Serbian, on the same court and in the same tournament.

“It was not easy to play this match against Jannik,” Alcaraz acknowledged. “He demands a very high level of mental, physical and tennis demands from you throughout the match. Maintaining those three things for four hours is not easy at all, especially on clay,” he continued. “A lot of heat, long exchanges, blows in which you leave a lot of energy… but in the end you have to deal with these situations and these types of moments. This is what the party asked for: to change tactics, positions; back and forth, playing with the tiredness and cramps of both or the mental level. “I am very happy to be in the final.”

“I have not felt that it was an early final,” he warned. “Sunday is going to be a very tough game, I will have to fight and play very well if I want to win. “Today was a great victory, but for me it was not an early final.”

That final, in any case, brings back many memories for the Spaniard of a very special tournament for him since he was a child.

“Before becoming a professional, I had come to Roland Garros only once,” Alcaraz recalled. “I was able to experience what this tournament was like when he was 11 or 12 years old. I came to play in an Under-11 or Under-12 tournament that they held on a track below the Eiffel Tower, and it was a very nice moment where I also met many players, I met Holger there and with many other foreigners.”

“I would leave school and run home to plug in the TV and watch Roland Garros matches. It is a very special tournament for me that I have been watching since I was little. And it is a tournament where Spanish tennis players have been very successful. We have gotten used to Rafa [Nadal]but before him there were also other Spaniards who achieved important things. So I want to leave my mark, my name on that list.”


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