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Carlos Alcaraz says he is ‘happy’ to see the end of the Big Four era in tennis, although he accepts that will make things tougher for him in many ways.

Alcaraz was the breakout star of 2022 as he won a maiden major at the US Open as well as becoming the youngest world number one in history.

It was a year in which Roger Federer retired and Rafael Nadal had his injury problems too. Novak Djokovic also played a reduced schedule and Andy Murray still looks some way short of recovering his best tennis.

For Alcaraz, though, that has made tennis very exciting for the players again, himself included.

“For 20 years it’s always been the same players, the Big Four, always winning the biggest tournaments,” Alcaraz told the National.

“Right now, there are so many chances to win those tournaments and so many players have those chances. I’m really happy to see a lot of tennis players that can compete at the top. There’s a really big group.”

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Alcaraz had the benefit of being the hunter in 2022, but he knows things will be very different with the pack now chasing him.

It’s something he knows he has to accept, but he says he is looking forward to the challenge too.

“I’ve had time to realise what I did, to look back on this amazing year and I still can’t believe it,” he said. “A lot of things to enjoy from this year and now I need to try to do the same or better next season.”

“Next season is going to be different for me. I’m not going to be one of the guys who is climbing up, I’m there, so this season will be a different mentality.

“I have to be prepared to stay strong the whole year because I’ll be going to lots of tournaments as the favourite. Everyone wants to beat me so I have to be prepared for that.”

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