Carlos Alcaraz says he will ‘go for it’ in the US Open final, just as his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero did in identical circumstances nearly 20 years ago.
In 2003, Ferrero reached the US Open final and left the tournament as world number one, and Alcaraz has the chance to do the same.
Unlike Ferrero, who lost the final to Andy Roddick, Alcaraz will need to beat Casper Ruud to top the rankings. There is an extra edge to this one, though, as Ruud will also be world number one if he wins the match and the title.
Asked about Fererro’s experience and if it can help him in the final, Alcaraz said: “Yeah, we talked a lot about it.
“He beat [Andre] Agassi in the semi-finals to reach the No. 1 in the world here in the US Open. He told me about how they prepared for that match.
“I’m going to do the same, that is going for it. No matter what I'm fighting for or what I am, I am just going for it and enjoy the moment.”
On the world number one spot in particular, he added: “Well, it is close but at the same time is so far away.
“It's a final of a Grand Slam, fighting for the number one in the world, something that I dream since I was a kid.
“I mean, what I have to say? Is final of a Grand Slam. Right now I'm going to enjoy this moment. My first Grand Slam final. I will have time tomorrow to think about it.”
Despite eventually coming through the semi-final, Carlos Alcaraz did have to overcome a big momentum shift in the fourth set.
He had match point but surrendered it with a poorly-chosen drop shot, only to see Tiafoe win the tiebreak and take it to a decider.
“I mean, it was a tough moment for me,” Alcaraz explained. “Losing that match point in that way, doing a dropshot that I could finish with a good forehand that I was hitting pretty well.
“But I knew that I had to stay in the match, to stay calm, to stay playing well. I was playing well. But, yeah, it was a tough fourth set.
“I thought it is a new match in the fifth set. I have to stay there playing, playing well, playing my game, and believe. I have to play my best and I could win, you know?
“I just thought that I was able to beat Frances in the fifth set.”
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to bookmark our home page.