Carlos Alcaraz reflects on ‘crazy’ top seeding at French Open

Carlos Alcaraz during a match

World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz is relishing the wild ride of his incredible rise to prominence.

Alcaraz reflected on being the top seed in a Grand Slam at the age of 20 ahead of the 2023 French Open that gets underway on Sunday 28 May.

The Spaniard secured the top seeding with a stunning clay swing which sawn him defend his Barcelona and Madrid titles.

Alcaraz added that he is thrilled to have achieved one of his career goals so soon ahead of an opener against Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli.

“Well, for me, it’s still crazy to see myself in top seed in a Grand Slam,” Alcaraz said on Friday. “But for me, at same time is great. It is something that I work for to be there. Yeah, I’m really happy to be No.1 seed here in Roland-Garros.”

Alcaraz admits that he needed to get used to being on the big stage with the spotlight on him.

“At the beginning when I played against the best [players], in the best stadiums, it was tough for me to get used to that and to stay calm,” Alcaraz said in his pre-tournament press conference.

“But I learned from those moments. I remember against Rafa for my first time in Madrid, it was really, really tough. I can name a lot of matches that I didn’t feel comfortable playing on that.

“But as I said, I learned from that, and I always wanted to play in those stadiums, in those tournaments, and I tried to feel comfortable playing on that. Right now I feel great playing in the great stadiums.”

Alcaraz believes that the only major changes to his game have been in his mindset.

“I would say I’m the same player as last year, only change that I would say is that I’m more mature. Mentally I’m better,” Alcaraz said.

“I can read what happened on court better than last year. For me, it’s really, really important, and I would say it’s the most different than last year.”

Alcaraz used time afforded to him by a relatively early Rome Masters exit to recharge at home.

“I played golf one day, of course had time with friends, family. Quality time at home is really helpful for me,” Alcaraz said.

“I took some days off. Doing nothing, just chilling.

“I had like five days practising in the academy at home. That is really helpful for me, to be away from tournaments a little bit, have more intensity practice. [This year] I didn’t have more than four days to practise, just to play matches and matches, and for me [it was good to] have this time to prepare for Roland Garros as good as I did these past days.”

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