Alcaraz: ‘I would like to play with Federer, I don’t know if I can’

Alcaraz: ‘I would like to play with Federer, I don’t know if I can’

In a suite on the 36th floor of the Intercontinental Hotel, on 44th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, near Times Square, where he was staying Carlos Alcaraz during U.S. Openthe 19-year-old Murcia player attends AS, to ‘El País’ also moved to New York, and to correspondents of three other national newspapers. He has a few interviews with him, but he seems more relaxed when he speaks at a round table, with a smile from ear to ear, that of a Grand Slam champion and world number one.

-He said the other day on the track at the end that he made some tough decisions with his family. What are these decisions and what do you think you sacrificed to dedicate yourself to tennis?

-I said I was young and they still made the hard decisions for me. I haven’t painted a lot, but in the race you have to make difficult decisions, marks, difficult moments that you have to face. Being young, they have more final decision than me. And in the end they take them. The sponsors, the subject of the training, also the coaches, etc… Which are important things, even if it doesn’t seem like they are the ones who see it better than me.

-During the tournament, we said that you were without fear, that you are not afraid, but are you afraid of injuries, of not achieving your goals…? And what is the boy from Murcia afraid of spiders, horror movies…?

-Well, as a tennis player, I’m honestly afraid to let you down. Yes that’s it. Probably one of my fears. Let down all my people. Well, as a normal boy, I’m afraid of a lot of things. I would say in the dark. I’m not a fan of horror movies either. Spiders, probably too. A lot of things, right?

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Carlos Alcaraz in Times Square.Julian FinneyGetty

– What do you mean by cheating?

-Well, don’t live up to what they (his relatives) They often think, even if he has a Grand Slam and number one now, they’ll probably reach the top tournaments where they have expectations and he can’t live up to it. Especially those around me. The others, yes there are a lot of people who think and give their opinion, but for those around me it’s true that it’s what scares me the most inside that I’m a little afraid of things in track.

-¿And what do you think they expect from you?

– Well, I don’t know. There are people who say no, they don’t care if they lose in the first round, lose in the final, etc. But it’s a thought I have inside.

-When he was 11, he posted a post on Instagram with a photo showing a racket, sacks of potatoes and some euro cents. He wrote: “The money, the rackets, the potatoes, I got it, haha.” Now he still has a racket, I don’t know if he still likes potatoes and money… on Sunday they gave him a good check and a Grand Slam champion’s trophy. Do you have everything now?

– Well, when you’re little, you post nonsense. Nope? (Laughs). You can see it now. As you get older, you realize that there are a lot more important things than tennis, than money and food, really. You achieve more important things.

-He said several times in the tournament, until he reached it, that his dream was to be number one. He’s already won a big one. Is there a tournament, situation or victory, against someone from the Big Three, for example, that makes you particularly excited?

-Playing against Federer, although at the moment I have few odds, I think, but that would be something I would like. And beat one of the three in a Grand Slam. I’ve always said that to be the best, you have to beat the best.

“I’ve always said that to be the best you have to beat the best”

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-It beats precocity records. He is the youngest number one in history. Does he maintain that he is not the chosen one, as he used to say, or does he start to think that he may have something special?

– No, I’m staying. I stand by my answer. Nobody gives you anything, I think. No one comes after you and you get everything you ask for. But things have to be worked on, things have to be taken. And I think what I’ve achieved, winning a Grand Slam, being number one in the world, is due to the work that I’ve been doing for a long time with my team. And it hasn’t been a bed of roses, but you have to suffer. And you had to go through some bad times too to get to this one. And I believe that I am not the chosen one and that nobody said that I will be the best, but rather that I worked for it.

-I think he works with a mental trainer, a psychologist. Has it helped you perform better and build more things in your career?

-Yes, I have been working with the psychologist since the beginning of 2020. It has been a long time. Isabel Balaguer, who is a very good professional, helped me. Well, I think she’s one of the main reasons he can be number one in the world today. I have improved a lot thanks to her. It’s a super important job to have a psychologist or mental trainer by your side, by your side, because tennis is demanding week after week, for a whole year you have to be mentally fresh, you have to know how to resist pressure, bear the fact that everyone has their eyes on you. I think it’s super important to know how to deal with it and without a psychologist, without someone to help you in this aspect, I would say it’s impossible or much more complicated.

-What does it tell you and what tools does it give you?

-Well, we talk, he gives me advice, he tells me what to do in certain situations, he helps on the track, lots of tools.

-¿Also how open and how not with people and journalists?

-No, in this aspect I show what I am, their help is more in managing me on the track, more in the tools to face things and also off track, that in the end you walk down the street and they recognize you. There are times when it’s a bit overwhelming, we would say, and with guidance, you can deal with it.

“You walk down the street and they recognize you. There are certain times when it’s a bit overwhelming.”

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-¿And regarding the routines, which have a bit to do with psychology, have you integrated any others?

-The ones I had, I reinforced them. I do them better and better, in a more natural way.

-What do you always do before and during games?

-Before games it’s not that I have a clear routine, obviously I have my warm-up, that I always do the same thing, basically, I always try to go to the same place with my team, but I don’t say well, five minutes for me before the match, headphones and such… If I want to listen to music, I listen to music, otherwise I don’t. I go as I feel at the time. But it’s true that in the game there are themes of fetching the towel, catching four balls, throwing them five times, the bottles, always in order, drinking one first, then another, always taste it first with the bar and then the banana. These are things that come to mind, fads.

-And about the mental work you were talking about in situations, for example, like the semi-final match, what goes through your mind to recover mentally? Have they been trained or helped you solve them?

-Yeah, well, I faced it thinking I had to keep going. I had match point so far, I was playing good, I felt good and it was not the time to go down, but to continue there, to continue to show my good game, that I felt rather good . Yes, it’s true that I said to myself ‘please don’t let this go, because I know it’s going to hurt’, but of course the fifth set arrived and I went for it. At least I feel like if I had lost the match, I would know that I would have tried, that I would have left everything, with a lot of options, that it couldn’t be and it will be.

-He said he was proud to be from El Palmar, Murcian and also Spanish. He is 19 years old and can already vote. Are you interested in politics, do you have a political conscience?

-No I do not have. The truth is, politics is something I don’t pay much attention to. Now it’s true that we get a lot of news, a lot of things about politics, and more or less I’m a little informed, very little, really. But hey, when the time comes, I’ll see if I’ll vote or not. It’s something I don’t pay much attention to right now, honestly. But I’m proud to be from Murcia and to be Spanish. And I say that with great pride.

Carlos Alcaraz, during the US Open final against Ruud.

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Carlos Alcaraz, during the US Open final against Ruud.JULIAN FINNEYAFP

-¿What activities do you like to do with your friends and what does a day in your life look like outside of tennis?

-Now that the weather has been nice, I liked going to the beach with them, but when it’s winter, well, it’s quiet, at a friend’s house. If we go to an area, let it be quiet too. Honestly, I’m a very basic boy, and I think the most basic is what you enjoy the most, being with five or six friends sitting on a bench, in a car, in a house, talking quietly, having fun , laugh .. telling us stories. It makes me, makes me happy.

-Nadal, logically, won’t want Djokovic to win more Grand Slams, as he surpasses him in an incredible all-time record of titles. You have one, but it’s already in the ointment, you have winners. You don’t want Rafa to win, for example, would you like him to stay in those 22 to be closer to him?

– No, no, what’s up, not at all, not at all. I will always be proud that Rafa won the Grand Slam. And obviously, if I lose in one, if unfortunately I lose, I will encourage him to win, always with a Spaniard. And honestly, with a title, I don’t feel closer now (Laughs). For the moment I will think about the second and try to achieve it, which very few people have been able to do. So for now, that’s my goal.

#Alcaraz #play #Federer #dont

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