Alcaraz aspires to his first Grand Slam and to be number 1 in the world

"I always dreamed of being number one," confessed Carlos Alcaraz.

10 September 2022 Saturday 15:36
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Alcaraz aspires to his first Grand Slam and to be number 1 in the world

"I always dreamed of being number one," confessed Carlos Alcaraz. His childhood wish can come true this Sunday. At 19 years old, he is one step away from becoming the youngest world ranking leader in history, beating Lleyton Hewitt's record, who was 20 when he achieved it. “I see it close, but at the same time very far”, recognized the young star. The step that remains for him to take is not short: he has to win his first Grand Slam against another player who is in his same conditions, Casper Ruud. The final starts today at ten o'clock at night, Spanish time.

The Norwegian tennis player, who started the US Open ranked number 7, had to reach the final to qualify for first place. If Alcaraz did not arrive, Ruud would go to sleep on top of tennis. "The fair thing would be for both of us to reach the final and for whoever wins it to be number one," the Scandinavian had said. As he played the first semifinal, against Karen Khachanov, he had to wait to see if Frances Tiafoe could or not with Carlitos. And she couldn't. In his third marathon five-set match in a row, the Murcian got rid of the American after midnight in New York. The result: 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 and 6-3.

With the local public injecting him with adrenaline when he needed it most, Tiafoe tore two sets from Alcaraz, the first and fourth, in which he overcame a match point in sudden death (he had eight tie-breaks to nil in the tournament, a record at the US Open), but failed to clinch the deciding set. The one in Washington couldn't quite believe it. "I have never played with someone who moves as well as him," he admitted admiringly. "It's amazing how he is able to spread the points."

The phenomenon from El Palmar is very satisfied with his performance in such demanding matches. “It is important to believe in yourself and be physically fresh. In the key moments, I give my best version and I think that is why I have won eight of the nine fifth sets that I have played in my career. I am not worried at all that these fifth sets will weigh me down in the final. Today it has been shown that, after the matches against Cilic and Sinner, in the fifth I am ready to be able to play good tennis despite the hours I have been on the court and regular rest for finishing so late”.

Once again, his fighting spirit, reaching impossible points of those that discourage even the most optimistic, came out in the semifinal. “I never give a ball up for lost and that's why I try to fight for each point until I've already lost it. Sometimes, those points help me to come on top, to smile, to enjoy the moment. Sometimes you have to get a little magic.

The magician will return to the track this Sunday to do the final trick. “I am not afraid of that moment,” Alcaraz confessed. "It's something I've prepared myself for mentally and physically, to be fighting for great things."

It can help you not to be afraid of the fact that your opponent has never been able to beat you. Alcaraz has a particular score of two wins to zero against the Norwegian. “I already beat him in Miami,” he recalled. “I think I am capable of beating him again. He has already played a Grand Slam final and he knows what it is to live that experience, which for me is something new. But many things have also been new for me and in the end I have faced them in a good way. I'm going to try to take it as just another game, although I know it won't be easy, and I'm going to try to put out my best game".



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