Alcaraz looks for the positive side in the Caja Mágica

The Spaniard seeks his third consecutive title in the Caja Mágica

April 23, 2024

Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images

By Staff

Any gesture by Carlos Alcaraz unleashes great emotions in the Caja Mágica. The Spaniard, champion of the last two editions of the Mutua Madrid Open, receives special love this season from the fans, who fill any training session with cheers. After missing the beginning of the clay tour due to injury, the Murcian places the Spanish capital as the stage for his possible return to competition. Enough incentive to turn the ATP Masters 1000 into a real buzz around it.

“There are days left until my first game and today I trained with a little more intensity,” explained Alcaraz, while trying to leave behind the discomfort in the pronator of his right arm, the mishap that has stopped his 2024 season in its tracks. It went well and with good feelings. I don’t want to rush into saying that I’m going to play at 100% because I don’t want to take anything for granted. Right now, with the mentality I have, with playing three or four games here I am also happy.”

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In a scenario where he has already written a very special story, Alcaraz drew two conclusions in the bowels of the Caja Mágica. First, caution must mark the steps on a bruised body. Second, that the adrenaline of the competition, that food that drives him to search for history in sport, will compensate for the wait that he is going through right now.

“I love to compete and every time I miss a competition it hurts,” recalled the Murcian, who has already accumulated 25 days without playing a match on the circuit. An immensity for a player in full swing. “Staying at home recovering is a hard feeling for me. Monte Carlo and Barcelona are two very nice tournaments, it especially hurt me to miss the latter. But I am a person who always takes the positive, who tries to turn things around. Since I decided “Not going to Barcelona, ​​I started my recovery to see if I could be in Madrid. I really want to get back on the court, to play an official match after Miami.”

Let us dream, the Spanish capital presents an iconic setting. On the clay of the Manolo Santana Stadium, on his 18th birthday, Alcaraz played his first duel against Rafael Nadal. In this year’s edition, with both players fully returning to the circuit, Carlos’ enthusiasm returns without setting any logical limit.

“We can imagine many things,” the Murcian smiled. “It would be a great thing to play a final with Rafa in Madrid. Many people would like to see that match, I hope it happens. But tennis is complicated, every day you can feel a certain way, every match is different and you can never take anything for granted. He is sure that he will fight every game, he will be excited to be in a final in Madrid again. Like me, I’m going to try to be at my 100% and play at a good level to try to reach that final.”


Although the inertia of the Murcian was far from that found in previous years, the records are hot on his heels in Madrid. The possibility of lifting their third consecutive trophy in the Caja Mágica, something unprecedented in the history of the tournament, occupies conversations in all corners of the tournament. A reality that does not escape even Carlos himself.

“I’m not one to look at it but in the end it gets to me. I can’t escape from it. Once I see it I try not to pay too much attention to it, so that it doesn’t stay in my head. They are very nice things that I can do. Having my name be the first to get it would be special. But we try not to pay attention to it and continue day by day.”

In this sporting constancy, the figures of Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas now mark the lead on the ATP Tour. Norwegian and Greek won the finals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, ​​sharing the first two major European cups. An impulse that promises to become a huge barrier in Madrid.

“They are in a very good moment. They are in top form after finishing in two major clay tournaments. They feel confident and for me that is the most important thing, being sure that you are going to play at a good level. But Sinner is also there at a very good time and there are players who can put you in trouble, especially in Madrid with the altitude. You have to know how to adapt. The two of them and Sinner are now the players to beat on land.”


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