Carlos Alcaraz: “Winning the Madrid Open was the best week of my life,” says the 19-year-old tennis player

19 year old Hispanic became the hottest prospect in tennis after two Masters 1000 titles in the past few months, the last of which will be held in Madrid on Sunday.

Alcaraz beat defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-1 in the Madrid Open final, ending an impressive tournament having already beaten Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in previous rounds.

It’s the young Spaniard’s fourth title of the year, including winning the Miami Open in April, and he’s set to rise to a career-high No. 1. No. 6 in the world rankings.

Having won the clay court tournament just a few weeks before the second Grand Slam of the year – the French Open at Roland Garros – Alcaraz’s name is among the favorite contenders for the title.

And speaking with CNN Sports after “the best week of my life” when he played “incredible tennis”, Alcaraz does not exclude that in a few weeks he can win his debut Grand Slam tournament.

“I’d say I’m one of the favorites to win Roland Garros with stats and everything, but I know it’s going to be very, very difficult to win Roland Garros,” Alcaraz told CNN’s Don Riddell.

“There are a lot of great players there – Rafa, Djokovic – the best players in the world will play there. But I think I’m ready to do well at Roland Garros and I’m ready to win Roland Garros.”

Alcaraz lifts the Madrid Open.

Home favorite

Last year, Alcaraz finished 120th in the world and lost to Nadal in the second round of the Madrid Open.

But fast forward 12 months and he has beaten two of the greatest players tennis has ever seen as he has established himself as a force to be reckoned with.

By beating Nadal, Djokovic and Zverev, Alcaraz became the first player since David Nalbandian in 2007 to beat the top three players in the same Masters 1000 tournament.

Given his meteoric rise and seemingly unflappable personality, it seems that nerves are no problem for Alcaraz. However, he says it is not.

“I have nerves, but I try to handle nerves better than anyone else and try not to let my opponent see that I’m nervous,” he explains. “But trust me, I have nerves, a lot of nerves.”

Backed by a home crowd on Sunday, Alcaraz dominated Zverev flying around the court as he belied his age and experience on the huge stage.

As someone who watched the tournament as a kid, the Madrid Open meant even more to Alcaraz.

And his achievements over the past few months have not yet settled into a young star.

“I mean, it all happened so fast, two Masters 1000 titles – one hard court, one clay court,” he said.

Alcaraz returns the ball to Zverev.

“Therefore, if at the beginning of the season someone told me that I would succeed in these competitions – including in Barcelona – I did not believe, I did not believe him. As for me, I don’t know what to say about an incredible month for me.”

And Alcaraz is not intimidated by the need to be the biggest name in tennis.

“It’s good that everyone is talking about you and going to watch your match. For me it’s not bad. But it gives me a lot of strength to play in the best stadiums against the best players in the world. pretty awesome.”

“Absolute disgrace”

Despite being defeated in the final, he took first place in the world. 3 Zverev praised Alcaraz.

The German called the Spaniard “the best player in the world” after pouring champagne on him during the awards ceremony.

However, Zverev criticized the ATP Tour for its nightly match schedule during the Madrid Open, stating that while he “didn’t want to take anything away” from Alacaras, he would have performed better if the players had been given more time to rest.

“The ATP performance this week has been an absolute disgrace,” Zverev said. said. “Playing in the final against Carlos Alcaraz, who for me is the best player in the world right now, in the Masters 1000… it’s tough. Today I had no coordination. no coordination when hitting from the ground. I missed two overhand shots that were very easy because I can see the ball and everything is moving in front of my eyes.

“I was always a little late. My first step was not so fast. If you play with the best players in the world, you must be on top. Otherwise, you won’t stand a chance. there was no chance.”

Zverev watches the Madrid Open final against Alcaraz.

He continued, “I think we all stayed up late, we all might have partyed sometimes, but if you don’t go to bed until 4am, you’re dead the next day. I played the next day. If you do this again, the next day before 5 am it will be difficult for you to even wake up.

“I don’t want to take anything away (from Carlos),” Zverev said. “I’m sad about the final we played because it could have been a very good match. It could have been a great match.

“It takes the sport away from tennis. Everyone wanted to see a big fight. Everyone wanted to see high-level tennis. But I’m human too. I’m not a robot. I can’t. I just can’t be at my level when this happens every night.”