APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Alcaraz, still gaining strength in Madrid

Carlos Alcaraz has a ladder to climb and the rungs are laid out before him in the Caja Mágica. The defending champion progressed on Sunday at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he is bidding to become the first player in history to claim three consecutive trophies. On a sunny day in the Spanish capital, hitting the ball much harder than he had earlier in the week, the Spaniard adapted well to the conditions he understands like few others. The clay courts in Madrid provide the perfect showcase for the Spaniard’s repertoire and he did not disappoint.

The world No. 3 breezed his way through a match that was hard to call, defeating the Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-3 6-3 to pick up some momentum in the event. Intent on recovering the power of his forehand, which has been tempered by the injury he picked up in the build up to the clay swing, Juan Carlos Ferrero’s understudy proved that he is making progress. Although he is still not able to rely on his power to blow his opponents away, as he is accustomed, the defending champion did start to deploy some of the first-strike tennis that took him to the top of the game.

“Maybe today I was a bit nervous to see how it was. In the end, Thiago hits the ball very hard and I didn’t know how my forearm would handle it”, the Spaniard responded during an on-court interview, before confirming that he feels his game is progressing. “Today was the litmus test for me, I didn’t feel any discomfort. I felt amazing and I connected with some really good forehands. So, from now, it’s onwards and upwards”.

Above all, Carlos showed glimpses of his normal dominance during the encounter. The Spaniard was in control of his first serve, winning 27 of the 31 points he started with the shot. He forced the South American into reverse with his forehand, gaining metres with a shot that is essential if he is to go all the way. And a smile was never far from his face at a tournament where he is a serious contender, and a man with a target on his back.

“Thiago’s level is very high, he has some incredible shots. He has proved it many times and today as well”, acknowledged the Spaniard, who never gave the Brazilian a look in until the final stretch of the match. “I was really comfortable moving round the court, hitting the ball. Then, closing out matches isn’t easy. I hadn’t felt that nervous on court for a while. I struggled with that a bit, but in the end I’m happy to have got through it and given myself a chance in the next round”.

Now, the Murcia native will be met with a familiar face as he continues to defend his throne. Alcaraz will play Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in round four of the Mutua Madrid Open, in a rematch of last season’s title bout in the Caja Mágica.

“Hopefully, it’ll be like last year’s final. We know what kind of player he is and his level. He will come out firing and with a big serve. We’ll have to recharge our batteries and give 100% if we want to progress. I think it’ll be a match that’s a little less comfortable to play, but I’ll enjoy myself and I hope the fans do too”.