Carlos Alcaraz expects ‘different’ campaign in 2023: ‘Everyone will want to beat me’

Delight for Carlos Alcaraz

This year he was the one doing the “climbing” as he made his way up the ATP Rankings, but Carlos Alcaraz knows he will be a marked man during the 2023 season.

Alcaraz started the year outside the top 30, but finished at No 1 after winning his maiden Grand Slam, the US Open, as well as two ATP Masters 1000 titles and two ATP 500 events.

He notched up several records along the way as he became the youngest player to win the Miami Open and the Madrid Open while he was also the youngest ATP world No 1 in history at 19 years, four months and six days and the first teenager to finish as the year-end No 1.

Alcaraz is still taking it all in, but he knows next year is likely to be a bigger challenge as the chasing pack will all look to get the better of him.

“I’ve had time to realise what I did, to look back on this amazing year and I still can’t believe it,” he told The National. “A lot of things to enjoy from this year and now I need to try to do the same or better next season.”

The Spaniard added: “Next season is going to be different for me. I’m not going to be one of the guys who is climbing up, I’m there, so this season will be a different mentality.

“I have to be prepared to stay strong the whole year because I’ll be going to lots of tournaments as the favourite. Everyone wants to beat me so I have to be prepared for that.”

Many believe Alcaraz – who beat the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal this year – will go on to dominate the sport and his rise to the top has given many hope that tennis will be fine once the Big Four of Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have all retired.

But Alcaraz was not the only youngster to shine this year as the 23-year-old Casper Ruud finished runner-up at two Grand Slams, Felix Auger-Aliassime (22) won four titles and led Canada to Davis Cup glory and the 19-year-old Holger Rune won three titles, including the Paris Masters where he defeated Djokovic in the final.

“For 20 years it’s always been the same players, the Big Four, always winning the biggest tournaments,” Alcaraz said.

“Right now, there are so many chances to win those tournaments and so many players have those chances. I’m really happy to see a lot of tennis players that can compete at the top. There’s a really big group.”

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