“I want to continue climbing as far as I can go, if I can get to heaven, the better”

Carlos Alcaraz, brand new champion of the Mutua Madrid Open and current number 6 in the ATP ranking, gave an interview to the Argentine newspaper La Nación in which he reviewed his path to reach the elite of tennis and the new challenges that he proposes for this season after winning, among other titles, the Miami Masters 1,000 and the aforementioned Mutua Madrid Open.

Carlitos wanted to show off the importance that his town, El Palmar, has had for him. “In El Palmar we are lucky to have everything. There are many schools, a sports center, the tennis club where I started and a hospital that is one of the best in Spain. You can do many things and there are good restaurants. You can move a lot and there are many places to be with friends. You also have more private areas. It’s a quiet place, like a town, we all know each other here.”

The Murcian tennis player also analyzed how his beginnings in tennis were. “I started in tennis because of my father’s bond, who was also a tennis player. I was lucky when I was little in tennis because since I made my first trip when I was ten years old I already had a sponsor who helped me: Postres Reina, an important confectionery company in Murcia. Without their support it would have cost me double or triple, or even not be able to fulfill my dreams and goals.”

Alcaraz’s latest successes have also increased his popularity, something he acknowledges and hopes to handle well. “I’m handling the popularity thing quite well. Little by little it will be more difficult for me to expose myself, but things have to be clear and I am clear that when I want to expose myself I will do it without a problem. The other day when I was coming back from Madrid we stopped to eat in a secluded place where there weren’t many people but they all knew me. That’s when you realize how well-known you’re becoming.”

Alcaraz also gives importance to the help of his family and his team to keep his feet on the ground and continue pursuing his big dream. “I have to thank my family and my team, who always tell me what to do, what is good for me and what is not. I want my quirks and my stuff but sometimes it’s not ideal right now. That’s where my team and my family come in to tell me ‘Wait a bit, don’t be in a hurry, go little by little’. I am a boy who has things quite clear. I am clear about my goal and my dreams, which is to be number 1 in the world. No matter how many tournaments come, I still haven’t achieved it. That helps me keep my feet on the ground to keep trying to fulfill my dream. For example, I want to buy a good car, but I have to wait a bit.”

The Spanish tennis player also highlighted the great work that is done in Spain with tennis both with the coaches and in the facilities. “In Spain we have great coaches and academies. The weather influences a lot. We have very good weather in almost all of Spain, we are a country with great things. We have many players to train. We are considered more tennis players on clay and for tournaments like Roland Garros, but we have also achieved good results on hard courts. We have good coaches, good academies, good weather and good food and that helps to push us up. In addition, in Spain there is good discipline, work is encouraged a lot and that has been key”.

Alcaraz also wanted to highlight the importance that the help of Juan Carlos Ferrero, the coach who bet on him when he was a youth, has had for him. “For me it has been super valuable that Ferrero has accompanied me since youth. He lived his dream of being number one with his coaches Toni (Martínez Cascales) and Samuel López, They have always been with him. And that’s very special and that’s what I’m looking for. Juan Carlos took me when he was 15 years old, when he played in juniors. I hope to grow with him and spend my entire career together. It would be very special and very beautiful. In the end, that’s what I like, I’m a family guy, very close, who likes to be with his family. Everything I’ve lived through has already happened to Ferrero. He can tell me where to go, guide me. He knows the good and the bad, he has lived it all: passing the first finals, the first Grand Slam, the match in which he can go up to number one if one day it happens to me… That gives me an advantage.”

The Murcian tennis player is also confident to try to win his first big. “I am not afraid to say that I am ready to win a Grand Slam. Physically I’m fine and mentally I’m strong. I am a strong player and that is what it takes to win a Grand Slam. Also now I feel good and confident. It can help me grow and I am not afraid to say that I am ready to go for a Grand Slam. However, in tennis, speed and agility prevail over strength. It is important to be strong but at the same time to be fast, quick and agile. That’s the perfect mix and we’ve taken it into account to work well.”

Asked what he would choose from Nadal, Federer and Djokovic, Alcaraz is clear about what he would keep from each one. “Rafa would steal his fighting spirit, never giving up, not giving up a ball and sacrificing himself and working hard. If I have to train three hours, I train them at 200%. To Federer, the elegance and the variety of shots he demonstrates in matches. And from Djokovic I keep the elasticity and the physique that he has.”

The tennis player also confessed his love for Real Madrid and ruled on whether it is more of Cristiano or Messi. “I’m a Real Madrid fan, but not in an extreme way. I’m more of Cristiano than Messi, but I can’t deny that they’re both among the best in history. Messi has a different type of football and a bit more variety than Cristiano. Those of us who have seen football in the era of Cristiano and Messi have been lucky, they are two gods.”

Finally, Alcaraz was emphatic about his growth and his goals. “I don’t have a limit right now, I don’t want to put a ceiling on myself. I want to continue climbing as far as I can and if it’s up to the sky, the better.”