Carlos Alcaraz makes revealing Centre Court confession as he marches on at Wimbledon

Kevin Palmer
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates during his match at Wimbledon in 2024
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates during his match at Wimbledon in 2024

Carlos Alcaraz was pushed all the way by France’s Ugo Humbert in a compelling fourth round match and he made a candid confession about playing under the Centre Court roof at Wimbledon after his latest victory.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz was broken five times by Humbert but regrouped to book a place in the quarter-finals.

Alcaraz had spent nearly four hours on court during a dramatic victory over Frances Tiafoe on Friday and looked in a hurry to progress when he raced into a two-set lead.

Humbert responded with aplomb to break Alcaraz three times to force a fourth set where two more breaks put him 4-3 up.

But the world number three moved through the gears to claim a 6-3 6-4 1-6 7-5 triumph on day seven of the Championships.

Alcaraz has not enjoyed his best results on indoor courts at the back end of the ATP Tour season and with the weather in England this summer being so grim, plenty of matches at Wimbledon have been played with the roof closed over the first week of The Championships.

Now Alcaraz has admitted he is hoping for an improvement in the weather, after conceding some of his rivals are better in indoor conditions.

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“I’m not used to playing indoors (on grass), I’m not going to lie, but I don’t consider myself a bad indoor player,” he said after the entire Centre Court programme on Sunday was played under the roof due to heavy rain showers in London.

“I just think that a lot of players are better than me. But honestly, I would prefer to play outdoor. That’s obvious.

“If we have to play outdoor or indoor, I have to adapt my game with the conditions that it is. If I have to choose, I would choose outdoor.”

Alcaraz has produced slow starts in his previous three matches, winning first-set tie-breaks against qualifier Mark Lajal and unseeded Aleksandar Vukic before he lost the opener to Tiafoe, but it was a different story this time.

A first set point came and went on Humbert’s serve but a lovely forehand pass by Alcaraz forced a second, which was taken.

Humbert had barely laid a glove on Alcaraz’s service game by this point, but that changed midway through the second set.

A marathon game saw Humbert create four break point opportunities at 2-2.

Alcaraz dug deep to repel the Frenchman, with brilliant net play able to thwart the final chance before he showed the ruthlessness of a three-time grand slam champion with a break to take the set.

Humbert sent a simple volley wide to gift Alcaraz the break, with the current Wimbledon champion earning the adulation of Centre Court after he twice scrambled across the baseline to return before a third slide along the grass helped force the error.

History looked set to repeat itself for Humbert, who had lost to Novak Djokovic in straight sets when he last made the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019, but the left-hander hit back.

Alcaraz was broken at the start of the third and two more followed, the last when Humbert sent a sweet backhand down the line.

The prospect of another five-setter appeared dispelled by Alcaraz, though, when he was able to break immediately into the fourth.

However, it sparked a chaotic period where Humbert broke back and Alcaraz established a 3-1 lead before the world number 16 won three games in a row and was 0-40 during the eighth service game.

Alcaraz produced two aces to clinch a huge hold and a sumptuous forehand bent over the net secured another, which was followed by a decisive break.

Alcaraz brought up match point with a supreme drop shot before another ace, this time only 103mph, sent him through to the last eight.

“I think I stayed at a really high level of focus during the whole match,” added Alcaraz.

“Probably in the third set it was kind of difficult for me. I mean, the second game, Love-30 for me, a few points played with a few mistakes from my side. Then he broke my serve. I think he started to play better and better.

“There were certain points that I couldn’t find my good read on the serve. I felt like he was reading my serve, he was reading my shots very, very well at every point that we were playing.

“It was difficult for me to find the solutions at that moment. But tennis is like this. I had 40-Love down in the fourth set.

“A few serves that I did pretty well. Saved that game. It kind of increased my level, increase my intensity, and got the win at the end.

“So really happy that it didn’t affect me at all, the third set, and the problems that I had in the fourth set and I stayed really strong mentally.”