Carlos Alcaraz says he has grown so much as a player in the last year that he is now comfortable playing at the highest level alongside the best players in the world.
Alcaraz has had an astonishing rise to the top ten, ranked only 120 less than a year ago, the young Spaniard has come through the ranks and has won an impressive three tournaments already this year.
The 18-year-old has scooped titles at Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona and has an impressive 23 – 3 win loss record so far.
With his Madrid Open challenge about to start, Alcaraz reflected on how far he has come since he last played the tournament.
“I think that as a player I have grown a lot, [and also] as a person,” Alcaraz said in his pre-tournament press conference. ”
“Last year I came here to live these kinds of matches, to be able to gain some experience, to be able to level myself against the best players in the world. Now I consider myself one of them.”
Alcaraz thinks although he has clearly grown in physique and strength, it is actually his mental strength that has been the biggest factor in his progress.
“I would say my fitness has been important but definitely the most important part has been the mental game. I feel I have grown up so much in that part,” said Alcaraz.
“That is why I am the world number nine right now and that is why I am playing at a good level. That is why I have been able to win great matches, so I think [my mentality] is the most important thing.”
Alcaraz will be performing in his home country in front of an expectant crowd and he admits it does add extra pressure but he’s excited.
“It’s not easy to play at home. There is a lot of expectation, a lot of people that want to see you doing it well,” Alcaraz said.
“But I’m a player that turns things around. I take that as a motivation, as an extra punch, extra help.
“I am really excited to be competing here. It is great to play in Spain in front of my home crowd. I try not to think about the pressure.
“I just try and think about myself and play my best on court. I am trying to have a great time with the crowd pushing me up. I don’t try and think about the expectations.”
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