Carlos Alcaraz: ‘I am more mature to manage the tough moments, the nerves, everything on court’

ATP Tour
Delight for Carlos Alcaraz

He celebrated “probably one of the best days” of his young career against Novak Djokovic, but Carlos Alcaraz is no doubt destined to achieve even greater things.

Just a day after claiming a stunning win over his childhood hero Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final of the Madrid Open, Alcaraz followed it up with another three-set win over Djokovic to secure his place in the final where he will face defending champion Alexander Zverev.

With his win over Djokovic the 19-year-old – who celebrated his birthday on Thursday – became the youngest player to beat a world No 1 since Nadal defeated Roger Federer at the 2005 French Open.

Novak Djokovic faces familiar hostility as Carlos Alcaraz cements his breakthrough

Alcaraz is already an ATP Masters 1000 title holder after winning the Miami Open in March while he also won the Barcelona Open a fortnight ago.

“It’s probably one of the best days of my career, of my life, without doubts,” he said. “But I don’t know what to answer really. Probably in some time or maybe tomorrow I can even tell you tomorrow it really is my best day of my life.”

Alcaraz, who will rise to a career-high of No 6 in the ATP Rankings on the back of his Madrid run, claimed a 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) won at Caja Magica on Saturday and what was key to his win was his decision to play the big shots even when under pressure.

“As I have always said, you have to try to go for the match,” he said. “In those decisive moments is when you see the good players and the top players, that is where you can tell the difference between a good player and a top player, like Djokovic, Rafa, Federer, or all the players that are ultimately there for a long time.”

He added: “I want to make a difference on that. I want to make a difference, because in those key, decisive matches, I want to go for the match. If I play aggressive or if I lose, I’m going to leave with the feeling that I have come for the match and I just let it go. I will try to have to improve, doing better, but at least I leave the court with the feeling, well, I tried to go for it, I was trying it, and that’s what I was thinking on the tie-break. I just want to step in and go for the match, whatever happens.”

But one thing is certain, he is handling life in the spotlight a lot better due to his maturity.

“Honestly, I would say that I am more mature to manage the tough moments, the nerves, to manage everything on court. I think I am able to play long rallies,” he said.

“I’m ready to play against this kind of player.”

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