May 28, 2024

On the eve, there were doubts about his real physical condition but, in general, Carlos Alcaraz partially dispelled the doubts in the first round match at the Roland Garros, beating in straight sets (6-1 6-2 6-1) the American lucky loser J.J. Wolf. Let’s be clear; more psycho-physically demanding matches are needed to understand if the young Spanish talent has truly and completely overcome the forearm injury, that affected his clay-swing. But the start, at least, was comforting. His draw is not very simple but Carlitos has the skills to be able to aspire to a great goal.

Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz© Getty Images Sport – Clive Mason

At the press conference after the victory and in an interview with Tennis Channel, Alcaraz analyzed how was important the French Open semi-final 2023 he lost against Novak Djokovic in which he was blocked by tension, which gave him cramps. The Serb then won the final and the title. Alcaraz, however, wanted to underline the role that that lost match had in his rise, which culminated with the vengeful victory against Nole at Wimbledon.

“I try to learn from situations, said the two-time Slam champion, I try to learn from the tournament, from the matches. I’ve been on the circuit for two years. From now on I see great things for the Slams, but I continue to learn from every first round , from every game. I learned a lot from the semi-final here against Djokovic and I think that thanks to that match I managed to win Wimbledon. Everything I have done and do is the result of previous situations, I want to learn from the previous games I have had and played. I think that coming to this Roland Garros 2024 one year after that semi-final, I am a different, more mature player,” he explained.

Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz© Getty Images Sport – Clive Mason

As I said at the beginning of the article, Alcaraz did not have an easy season on clay. The forearm problems did not allow him to play continuously and in fact he only played in the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid, being eliminated in the quarter-finals by the Russian Andrey Rublev. Now the situation seems to have partially improved. At the press conference after the victory against Wolff, Carlitos focused on the management of the match and his physical resources.

“These victories help a lot. The level I showed today was very high in every sense: tennis-wise, physically, when I moved on the court… I played intelligent tennis. I hit some forehands 100%, I’m making progress in this respect, although it’s true that there were some cases where I was a little self-conscious. Tennis is like this, you don’t have to concentrate to hit all the shots 100%, you have to lower the intensity and know how to move the ball, which is why I say I played intelligent tennis.
That’s why, after a match like today, my confidence increases, my expectations increase a little, which makes me think I can get a good result here.

I’ve already said it: I’m a player who doesn’t need many games to get to 100%. As you all know, with four matches on clay I come here to a Grand Slam and I can play at a level like today. The training week also helps me a lot, to feel good and gain confidence. The days spent in Paris training with good players helped me a lot to realize the level I am at, the confidence I have and the level I can show,” he told.

Carlos Alcaraz & J.J. Wolf, Roland Garros 2024
Carlos Alcaraz & J.J. Wolf, Roland Garros 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff – Getty Images Sport

The Spaniard was then asked if the presence of Rafael Nadal (later eliminated in the first round by Alexander Zverev – ed.) frees him from media attention.

“I didn’t think about it, I didn’t feel that way. Obviously, Rafa being here in Paris, which is his tournament, the spotlight will be on him, but I didn’t notice less pressure whether he was in the tournament or not. I’m trying to move forward day by day, gaining confidence, since I haven’t been on the court for many hours, but little by little I’m gaining confidence and that’s the only thing on my mind at the moment,” he added.


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