Madrid Masters 1000 – Carlos Alcaraz: “If I have limits? I don’t think so”

Incredible, superhuman, future legend… Take whatever term you want, but Carlos Alcaraz, already an attraction on the ATP Tour since his first feat at the US Open last September, has entered a new dimension – one more and more only a few months – this week in Madrid. All the more so after his epic victory after 3:35 of play in the semi-final against world number 1 Novak Djokovic (6-7, 7-5, 7-6).

A final forehand shift for a final: relive Alcaraz’s match point

An already huge success when you know that the last to have beaten the best player in the ATP ranking at such a young age was called… Rafael Nadal. The Taurus of Manacor had achieved this coup against Roger Federer in 2005. Carlos Alcaraz allowed himself to take out the master of clay with authority on Friday in the quarter-finals (6-2, 1-6, 6-3 ).

ATP Madrid

Alcaraz is monumental!


After the match, in the bowels of the Manolo Santana court, the player himself seemed haggard, not yet fallen back to earth after this dream sequence, and this start to the year where he has already won three titles including his first Masters 1000, at Miami : “I don’t know what could have made the difference between a victory and a defeat. He (Djokovic) was so close, he had the chances to break me at the end of the second set. We both played a great game“, welcomed Alcaraz.

Beating Nadal and Djokovic back to back: a first on earth

Take out Nadal, then Djokovic, one after the other? Never before had any tennis player achieved such a performance on clay. A surface where the two members of the “Big 3”, to put it mildly, excellent. The first is the best player of all time on the surface, 13 titles gleaned at the Porte d’Auteuil can testify to this, and the second, title holder at Roland-Garros, was the only one to be able to compete with Nadal on ocher . Until today, it seems.

Admittedly, it should be remembered that Nadal was returning from injury, and that the situation will surely be different in two weeks, when the second Grand Slam tournament of the season begins. Djokovic, too, may not be in his best shape, even if he has definitely increased in power in Spain, after his return to the courts in Monte Carlo following a two-month absence. The level displayed by the Serb in this half, and the panache with which Alcaraz, from the top of his 51 winning shots, ended up defeating the “Djoker”, still commands respect for the performance of the Murcian.

For someone his age to play so mature and brave is impressive.

Praise that his victim of the day has not dried up: “He held up very well mentally. For someone his age to play so mature and brave is impressive.”, said Novak Djokovic, who has seen others, however. For him, certainties are gradually returning, and the pleasure of playing, after a chaotic start to the year, too: “It was a fantastic match, a great battlerejoiced the man with 20 Grand Slam titles. But I’m disappointed that I didn’t make better use of my chances in the second set.”regretted the Serb, in reference to these two break points obtained at 4 everywhere, and finally saved by Alcaraz.

The number 1, in his analysis, is right on target, because beyond a level of tennis that is no longer to be praised, it is above all the impressive mental strength of his opponent to survive these moments of extreme tension that leave blissful. If he had shown some flaws, during the Masters 1000 in Paris, last November, against Hugo Gaston, stifled by the pressure of the French public to finally bow in two sets (6-3, 7-5), he now seems unsinkable.

I know I played a very good game, and for the rest of the season I can play the best players in the world and beat them.

As in the quarter-finals, where after having unpinned in the second set following a pain felt in the ankle, then in the right hand, he regained the will to move forward. “I went to the bathroom and I said to myself: ‘If you don’t give up, then stop thinking about your ankle and play’, he said on Friday. He clarified his thinking after his semi-final, when he was asked about his management of key moments: “I want to stand out in those moments by getting the match. I want to be aggressive. If I lose, I can at least tell myself that I dared. That’s what I thought about in the tie -break” of the third set. A conquering state of mind that recalls the thirst for victory of the three biggest monsters in the history of tennis, and in particular the abnegation of his idol, Rafael Nadal.

When asked what this monumental coup de force represents, Alcaraz logically replies that “that [lui] gives a lot of confidence, before playing the final tomorrow (Sunday). I know I had a very good game, and for the rest of the season I can play the best players in the world and beat them.”. Something to scare everyone on the circuit.

Because comet Alcaraz does not seem ready to stop shining. “If I think I have a limit? I don’t think so”, he said with a big smile. Difficult, in any case, to impose on him, he who seems to delight in breaking records one after the other, and who has just become the youngest finalist in history in Madrid. To win the 4th title of his season, he will have to face either Alexander Zverev or Stefanos Tsitsipas (the film of their semi-final). Who, despite their experience and their ranking above the 9th place of the Spanish prodigy, are now far from being favorites.

ATP Madrid

This time it’s the right one: Alcaraz offers himself the scalp of his idol Nadal


ATP Madrid

Djokovic will be there and awaits Alcaraz


Leave a Comment