The story of Carlos Alcaraz and the Mutua Madrid Open is something of a romance. From visiting the Caja Mágica aged six to watch his first matches on the professional tour, to winning the Under-12 event and then inscribing his name on the trophy alongside those of Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
“To me, Madrid is everything. I’ve spent my last three birthdays playing here. But since I was little I’ve celebrated many more birthdays coming to the tournament. I got to an age where I dreamed of being here and not just playing, but winning and lifting the trophy. It’s super emotional. Madrid is super special to me and I remember that boy of 6, 7 or 8 years of age coming here for the first time to watch good tennis. Madrid is everything to me”, remembered the Spaniard in his post-match press conference.
When asked what advice he would give to any young player of the age and situation of the young boy he spoke of, Alcaraz said that the priority is “enjoying the journey, because, in the end, you have to enjoy the first time you do everything. From travelling abroad, being with your parents, or your first professional match”. But the current world No. 2 also touched on the importance of “working hard, but also having passion because, personally, when I was little there were a lot of days when I didn’t want to make the sacrifice. But coming through those days with a good attitude and intensity is what counts”.
Alcaraz not only leaves the Caja Mágica with his second trophy in Madrid, but also with his tenth ATP title and fourth Masters 1000, which he considers to be “amazing achievements for me”, saying that “I’m doing really great things and I feel very proud of my work. I’m ambitious and now I’ll take on Rome”, in reference to his opportunity to return to world No. 1 next week in the Foro Italico.
Of the final, in which he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 6-3), Alcaraz confessed, in the nearly two and a half hours of tennis, to have “enjoyed more than I suffered, but there were moments in which it started to look very complicated and I smiled at my team a lot. Playing in front of my people, family, friends and the whole of Spain, I try to enjoy it as much as possible”.
“The only thing that I changed was being positive at the start of the third set and going for all my chances. I believe in my ability to play in the important moments. That’s when I’m able to do things different to the rest. That’s why I’m a ‘finals player’. I think I’ve played twelve or thirteen and I’ve only lost a few. I think I grow in the important moments and play my best”, he continued.
Alcaraz wanted to give credit to his entire team for their success, starting with his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero. “It’s very important to have him giving me instructions. In a match like today’s, there were problems and they see things from the outside that help me have tools to come through the problems. I’m a player who, when I play badly, I’m able to come through matches. 80% of the matches you play in a year, you won’t play as well as you want. Knowing how to get through those days is worth double”, concluded the now double Mutua Madrid Open champion.