Carlos Alcaraz close to fulfilling childhood dream
Carlos Alcaraz has long dreamed of Roland Garros glory, according to his former coach Kiki Navarro.
Navarro will be cheering on Alcaraz from Spain but shared a message with the star before he left for Paris.
He reminded Alcaraz of the dream they shared to get him to the French Open title.
“You know that Paris has always been our dream,” Navarro reportedly whispered to Alcaraz in a final message.
Navarro hasn’t ruled out turning up in Paris for the big occasion, with Carlos Alcaraz set to battle Novak Djokovic in the semis on Friday.
“I’ll see it here at home,” Navarro told AFP reporters.
“Unless tomorrow I unexpectedly go there.”
Navarro looks forward to claiming bragging rights on a bet he made with Alcaraz’s father after he expressed the early belief that he would win not only the big ATP clay events in Spain but also the French Open.
“I made a bet with his father that he would win Barcelona, Madrid and Roland Garros, I already have two out of three,” said Navarro.
“He will beat Djokovic unless something strange happens, but he’s coming into it in good shape so I don’t think he’ll get hurt.”
Navarro insists that Alcaraz’s talent was always evident even from a young age.
“If you stick on a video of the boy you’ll see he plays like he does now. He was a prodigy technically, in this sense his development hasn’t been spectacular,” said Navarro.
“The forehand, the drop shot and the volley are innate. The serve has improved and the backhand cost him a little bit. Every now and then we briefly thought about changing it to one hand.
“His development has been physically. We were afraid he would stay small but he has grown to a good height and he is like a beast.”
Navarro also noted the pronounced competitive streak of the young Alcaraz.
“At the age of 10 he was a very innocent boy, without any bad intentions on or off the court, very happy. But he didn’t like to lose anything, he was very competitive,” Navarro recalled.
“He’s broken many racquets with me, he left the court crying and I had let him calm down before talking to him. He was a very bad loser, he wanted to also win at padel, at board games and at cards. But to be number one you have to be like that.
“The key was at 13 or 14 he realised that this was very serious. He had a cheerful, attractive game, wherever we went we were the centre of attention, both in Spain and in Europe.
“He was already well known, he was breaking Rafa Nadal’s records… So we had to work a lot on the head, the motivation and humility.”
Navarro has further backed Alcaraz to continue to bring joy with his exciting brand of tennis.
“I knew that because of his way of being and his tennis he was going to reach people, even more than Rafa, who is more serious. Carlos gives off more joy,” Navarro said.
“In the many hours we spent in the car or the plane, I always gave him talks so that he would continue to keep his feet on the ground. And I feel very proud. He knows where he comes from, his roots and who his people are. It’s not easy to become a global star so quickly.”
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