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“Not mature enough”: Alcaraz hopes to learn from US Open defeat

  • Matt Trollope

Earlier this fortnight, Carlos Alcaraz declared it was his goal to become the first player since Roger Federer, 15 years ago, to defend the men’s singles title at the US Open.

He came within two wins of achieving that goal – until Daniil Medvedev unwound him in Friday night’s semifinals.

Alcaraz, the top seed and reigning Wimbledon champion, was a heavy favourite coming into this match, after handing Medvedev lopsided defeats in the Indian Wells final and Wimbledon semis.

Yet it was Medvedev who ended the evening as a 7-6(3) 6-1 3-6 6-3 victor.

Medvedev played brilliantly, a fact both he and Alcaraz acknowledged in the aftermath of the semifinal.

This should come as no surprise, given Medvedev – a US Open champion himself – has enjoyed a resurgent season and returned to world No.3 after winning more than 50 matches.

Alcaraz, however, was left questioning his ability to adapt to the challenge of combating an opponent whose level and tactics had evolved since previous meetings.

“I thought that right now I am better player to find solutions when the match is not going in the right direction for you. But after this match, I gonna change my mind,” Alcaraz said.

“I'm not mature enough to handle these kind of matches. So I have to learn about it.”

Alcaraz felt he began the match well in what was a tense opening set. But it unravelled for him in the tiebreak, a momentum shift so stark it persisted through the second set.

Suddenly trailing two-sets-to-love, he could not recover, despite an inspired surge in the third set.

No.1 seed Carlos Alcaraz farewells the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium after falling in the 2023 US Open semifinals to Daniil Medvedev. [Getty Images]

“After 3-3 in the tiebreak, let's say, I lose my mind,” he admitted.

“I make three or four points without control. (After) fighting for 50 minutes and then for four points lose my mind, it was really tough for me to handle it.

“In the second set I didn't come back. It was almost in the moon (smiling).

“Obviously Daniil, he was playing great. It was tough for me to come back to the match and playing a great game again.”

Thankfully, defeat will not sting too long for Alcaraz, who has produced an overall-stellar 2023 season.

Carlos Alcaraz has reached consecutive semifinals at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open
(L-R) In 2023, Carlos Alcaraz reached the Roland Garros semifinals, won his second major title at Wimbledon, and returned to the US Open semifinals as defending champion. [Getty Images]

He reached three straight Grand Slam semifinals in Paris, London and New York, the zenith coming at Wimbledon where he earned his second major title with a triumph for the ages over Novak Djokovic.

There have been stints at No.1. Success across all surfaces. A sparkling winning percentage, with defeats few and far between.

He’s still only 20 years of age – making him the youngest ever US Open men's No.1 seed – and is constantly improving.

RELATED: The completeness of Carlos Alcaraz

“I don't think I'm gonna think about this loss for a long time,” he said.

“Of course I have to learn about it. I want to be better. You know, these kind of matches help you a lot to be better and grow up in these kind of situations. I have to talk with my team, with Juan Carlos, and how I can be better.

“Days, weeks, but not much longer than that.”