Carlos Alcaraz: What I have Achieved Does Not Matter, Why Alcaraz Made Such Statement Will Amaze You 

Alcaraz: ‘It doesn’t matter what I’ve achieved if I now stand still’

Spaniard reflects on his third major triumph

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates with the Coupe des Mousquetaires on Monday at Roland Garros.By Staff

Dressed in an immaculate black suit, Carlos Alcaraz was back at Roland Garros on Monday to have his photo taken with the Coupe des Mousquetaires before heading for a three-day holiday to disconnect after earning his third major title in Paris.

Before boarding a plane to forget about tennis, for 72 hours at least, the Spaniard spent almost half an hour with all the Spanish journalists who accompanied him throughout the historic tournament, speaking to them about his achievement, the ghosts of his forearm injury and the process of maturity he is currently going through.

“Yesterday, I celebrated with my family, with the people that came from Murcia, with my friends,” stated the No. 2 in the PIF ATP Rankings of his Sunday night. “We went out to dinner and obviously I did everything I haven’t been doing during the tournament and ate what I hadn’t been eating. I’m typically careful with gluten, but I took my foot off the pedal and let myself go a little bit. Also, we had to celebrate with champagne, the time was appropriate.

“Then I left early and that was it. Today I’m on cloud nine.”

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates with the Coupe des Mousquetaires on Monday at Roland Garros.

The Murcia native highlighted the significance of savoring these moments.

“After all the work, all the sacrifice to win a trophy like that, you have to enjoy it a bit. It’s something I’m learning, even though I’m still 21 and I’m still getting to know myself: what I need, what I don’t need, how to do it, how not to do it,” he explained. “I’m realising that you have to balance the days of working hard and suffering with days of rest and the freedom to do what you want, to not feel like a tennis player, just a normal guy. That helps you isolate yourself and wake up with a clear head to go out the court and deliver 100 per cent.”

there reach there that ‘cloud’, to savor the moment by rejoicing with his loved ones, Alcaraz had to suffer some tremendously difficult months that were rife with mistakes and catastrophes.

At the start of the European clay season, when he was in Monte-Carlo preparing for his opener at the tournament, the Spaniard announced his withdrawal from the third ATP Masters 1000 event of the season as the result of a problem with his right forearm, which meant he was unable to defend his title in Barcelona, too. Despite participating in Madrid, where he was also the defending champion, he went out to Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals and the pain came again, forcing him to miss Rome and putting his preparations for Roland Garros in peril.

“I’m someone who’s more likely to cry from frustration than from happiness,” revealed the 21-year-old. “I don’t cry much, but I did with the injury a couple of times when I had to miss certain tournaments I was really excited about.

“Mentally it was distressing. You use your right arm for everything. I use a lot of speed and power in every shot and my forearm really suffers. I was worried, thinking that I might not recover 100 per cent. In Madrid I played four matches and it plagued me in the fourth. I couldn’t go to Rome. We conducted tests and everything necessary to be here in the best shape, but my head kept asking questions.”

<a href=''>Carlos Alcaraz</a>
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

After withdrawing out of Rome, he didn’t pick up a racquet for a few days. Alcaraz then went on a training schedule with his staff to try to get ready for the first day of Roland Garros. Given Sunday’s result, it is safe to conclude the plan worked.

“I was a little uncertain about how my arm would react at a Grand Slam, the best of five sets,” he remarked. “It was tough, but as the rounds went by I was feeling good, no pain, even though I was cautious.

“The day of the semi-finals was when I decided to throw caution to the wind when hitting my forehand. I said, ‘If I damage myself, if it’s painful, then let it be here.’ It wasn’t the time to be terrified and I had to believe all the work we’d done and forget about that.”

It was all that preparation, carried out before and during the Roland Garros fortnight, that allowed the player from Murcia to realize another dream and experience something remarkable and inimitable.

“I also watch the videos of when I was little and I was in Paris under the Eiffel Tower, following Roland Garros,” stated Alcaraz. “Lifting this cup some time afterwards… they’re amazing moments. I’m living a dream. Roland Garros is particularly meaningful for me because it was the tournament I followed when I was little. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive so that I could sit in front of the TV and watch all the matches, and now…”

Becoming the youngest player to win three majors on the three surfaces (hard, grass and clay) has led to additional parallels with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the three players who tore up the record books for almost two decades.

“I’ve seen videos, but with a few highlights I can’t compare myself to what they were like at my age,” reasoned Alcaraz. “In the end, as I’ve always said, it doesn’t matter what I’ve achieved at this age if I now stand still. I want to prolong my career, I want to keep growing and get to where Djokovic, Rafa and Federer are… the greats, the geniuses, they kept improving until they were 37 or 38.

“Staying at the very top for 16 or 17 years, fighting for big titles season after season, dealing with the pressure, with injuries, with everything, that’s extraordinary and very few can do it… So I think it’s mental strength and my mind that will allow me to belong to that discourse in the future.”

Mental strength without a doubt, is one of Alcaraz’s finest achievements at this Roland Garros. While in 2023 he bowed out in the semis after losing to Djokovic, suffering from cramps mid-match due to the pressure, this year he has learned to handle that pressure, as evidenced by his wins over Jannik Sinner and Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and final, seeing off both opponents in five sets.

“Last year I clearly failed that exam, but this time we’d done our homework,” claimed the Spaniard. “This year I managed to do much better. I think I passed the exam, but not with flying colours. It’s something I have to keep improving and as the years go by, I’ll feel even better.”

After returning from his mini-break, which starts this afternoon, Alcaraz will start to practise on grass for Queen’s Club and Wimbledon (he is the defending champion at both) and then he will be back on the clay with his sights set on the Olympic Games in Paris, where as well as playing in the singles, he will form a duo with Nadal in the doubles. The choice, then, is obvious: would he prefer to successfully defend his Wimbledon title or earn an Olympic gold in Paris?

“The Olympic Games are every four years and it’s a special tournament where you’re not only playing for yourself, but for a country, representing every Spaniard,” was Alcaraz’s comment. “I think this year I’d choose Olympic gold.”

The freshly crowned Roland Garros champion is already thinking about his return to the location of Sunday’s success.

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