APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Alcaraz hits the ground running in Madrid

Champions have a unique ability to step fearlessly into unknown territory and Carlos Alcaraz has an opportunity to do just that in Madrid. On Friday, the Spaniard began his campaign in the Caja Mágica, where he is vying to become the first player to win three consecutive Mutua Madrid Open titles. At just 20 years of age, the Murcia native is carrying the enormous weight of responsibility that comes with being the man to beat at one of the most prestigious events on tour.

The world No. 3 came through his first test in the Manolo Santana Stadium with flying colours, beating the Kazakh Alexander Shevchenko 6-2, 6-1 with his contagious energy on display throughout. In a fast-moving battle, with the fans of the centre court spurring on one of their favourites, Alcaraz was dominant on his return to the tour. Although his serve was broken in both sets, the Spaniard’s performance was more than sufficient to achieve his goal.

Alcaraz’s presence in Madrid is under intense scrutiny. An injury to the pronator in his right arm brought the Spaniard’s clay season to an abrupt halt before it had even begun, forcing him to withdraw from Monte Carlo and Barcelona before he finally made it on court in the Spanish capital. After 26 days without competing, the defending champion appeared in the Caja Mágica wearing a white compression sleeve from shoulder to wrist, as he set about deploying the strokes that nobody has been capable of stopping for two years at this venue.

“It was a tough month for me, one of uncertainty about when I would be back. I arrived at this tournament with a lot of uncertainty too. I came here to do my first practice session and I didn’t know if I’d be able to play. Today the priority was to see how I felt in a demanding Masters 1000 match. I felt good and I think I played at a good level despite not having game time. I’m happy and to me it’s a pleasure to be back in Madrid”.

“I haven’t been able to hit my forehand at 100% as I would like. Juanki was telling me to freewheel. That’s what I’m doing with my forehand. I spent one month only practising my backhand, so I think I had a great match in terms of my backhand, also my drop shots. Everything I’ve been practising so far was spectacular. With my forehand, and the changes of pace, I had a good match”.

En route to the final, Alcaraz could meet some stiff resistance. In the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open the Spaniard will face Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild, a player who almost reached week two of the French Open last year and whom he has never played on tour. However, far from being an unknown quantity for the defending champion, Carlos is well aware of what to expect on the other side of the net.

“I’ve seen him often”, warned the Spaniard. “He’s a very aggressive player, very dangerous. His level is very high and he’s been beating some good players. We’re going to up our game. I want to work my way through the rounds in Madrid, and to continue enjoying the fans and playing on this court. I’m going to give 100% and we’ll see how it goes”.