Carlos Alcaraz admits he is ‘a little surprised’ by his meteoric rise this year, but unfazed by pressure

Carlos Alcaraz in action

Carlos Alcaraz concedes that he did not expect to rise to the top of tennis so quickly, but insists “hard work pays off”.

Just over a year ago Alcaraz was still ranked outside the top 100 and was yet to play in a singles final on the ATP Tour. However, he won his maiden title in Umag in July last year and also reached the quarter-final of the US Open to finish the season just outside the top 30.

But that was only the beginning as he has shot up to No 6 in the ATP Rankings on the back of winning four titles this year – including the ATP Masters 1000 Miami Open and Madrid Open – while he also made it to the quarter-final at Roland Garros.

When asked if he was surprised by his rise, he is quoted as saying by “The truth is that a little yes, I have had surprising results this year, I did not expect to evolve as fast as I did, but I work for it.

“As I always say, hard work pays off, although in my case it was all a bit quick and surprising.”

Along with the titles and his surge up the rankings came a lot of expectations, but the 19-year-old is taking it day-by-day.

“I know what my goals are, I don’t think too much about the pressure that comes from outside,” he said.

“I try to keep learning, keep adding experiences and always try to give my best version in each game. I feel that I play for myself, for my team and my family, I don’t focus on the expectations that people may have. I just push it away.”

So is one of those goals reaching the top three in the rankings?

“It would be a good goal, but right now my thoughts are not on the ranking, but on reaching the ATP Finals in Turin at the end of the season,” he said.

“For me, the ranking isn’t the most important thing right now, although I’m fighting to continue winning games and winning tournaments, as that is what will lead me to continue climbing.”