Carlos Alcaraz is ready for his US Open debut. The Murcian tennis player will play his first round match against the Argentine Sebastián Báez, a debut a priori more demanding than it might seem due to the Argentine's competitiveness.
At 19 years old, the young man from Murcia is the fourth player in the ATP ranking and third seeded in the US Open behind the Russian Daniil Medvedev and the Mallorcan Rafa Nadal and given the absence due to injury of the German Alexander Zverev. The draw allowed him to start a pairing with an equally young rival, 21 years old, and 37th player in the ranking.
The first round match between Alcaraz and Báez will be played on Tuesday, August 30 at 6:00 p.m. on the Arthur Ashe court and will be broadcast on Eurosport, a channel available on the Movistar and DAZN platforms. The La Vanguardia website will explain live what is happening during the meeting.
It will be the second time that Alcaraz and Báez face each other on a track. The only precedent ended with victory for the team from El Palmar in the 2021 Next Gen finals held in the Italian city of Milan (4-2, 4-1 and 4-2). He now faces this duel after acknowledging that in Montreal he felt the pressure. "I only thought about winning and that didn't let me play," he admitted.
Now Alcaraz at Flushing Meadows wants to take it another way. "Here I come to show my level and smile on the court. With that the results will come. I have always grown up in the big stadiums and I have enjoyed them. I want to play on center court in front of all the people and enjoy it." According to him , that's the key to success."Enjoy is a word that I have very much in mind. I'm doing something that I love and if you don't enjoy yourself on the track, you're lost."
Last year, for the first time in the fourth and last Grand Slam of the season, the pupil of Juan Carlos Ferrero started playing against the British Cameron Norrie, who was number 29 in the world -now he is in ninth place- and Alcaraz, who was 55th in the international ranking, he won 6-4, 6-4 and 6-3 in a tournament in which, at just 18 years old.
In fact, he reached the quarterfinals and gave the big surprise in the third round, beating the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was then the third player in the world -now he is the fifth-. For Alcaraz it will be the eighth participation in the final table of a Grand Slam tournament in the two years that he has been playing them and he always passed the first round.
Apart from Norrie and Báez at the US Open, the rival with the highest ranking that the Spanish faced in the first round of a "major" was the Japanese Yasutaka Uchiyama at Wimbledon 2021. The Japanese was 116 and Alcaraz beat him 6- 3, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 3-6 and 6-3.
The Murcian, who has options to become number 1 in the ATP in New York, focuses on achieving good sensations because he knows that this way he will have many more possibilities to go far. "I feel stronger than in 2021. This season I made the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, I have played long and tough matches against the best players and I think I am more prepared for this tournament than last year", he has also stated.
He has also wanted a hypothetical duel in the semifinals with Nadal, which would be "fantastic", as he has recognised, "but there are great games ahead".