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“Reaching my dream”: Alcaraz enjoys strong start at Roland Garros

  • Matt Trollope

Playing for the first time on Court Philippe Chatrier, Carlos Alcaraz embraced the setting, the moment, and the pressure – and stormed into the second round of Roland Garros.

The Spanish teenager dismantled lucky loser Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4 6-2 6-0, winning the final 10 games of the match. 

A champion in Barcelona and Madrid prior to Roland Garros, Alcaraz has now won 11 matches in a row as he continues to solidify himself as one of the biggest favourites for the title.

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“I would say the best thing to be (me) right now is that I’m reaching my dream,” said Alcaraz, who next faces countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

“I’m really happy with playing tennis, playing these kind of tournaments, this kind of stadium. Is not for everyone.”

Alcaraz is rapidly accruing experience on the biggest stages in 2022, thanks to a brilliant 29-3 start to the season. 

That run includes titles in Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid, and wins over Matteo Berrettini, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev – all top-10 players.

Even when Alcaraz – now up to world No.6 – has lost, it’s been close; he pushed Nadal to three sets in a pulsating Indian Wells semifinal, and gave Berrettini a scare in the third round of the Australian Open before the powerful Italian subdued him in a fifth-set tiebreak.

Having made notable gains physically, and already playing with an extraordinary maturity, poise and completeness, Alcaraz is third in the Race to the ATP Finals, helped by those two ATP Masters titles in Miami and Madrid. 

That maturity is also evident in how the 19-year-old is approaching his career.

Aware of the hype surrounding his Roland Garros campaign, he is keeping his focus both present and narrow.

“I am trying to be focused just on the tournaments, on the matches, and trying to be apart of the social media and everyone talking about you,” he said. 

“Just focus on what I have to improve, what I have to do on the matches, what I have to do in the every day to be ready in the tournament.”

Intelligent scheduling saw Alcaraz skip the Rome Masters to rest his battered feet and ankles; in that time he enjoyed a few days off at home and spent time with his family.  

And, perhaps frighteningly for his opponents, there appears little chance he will stagnate, or even plateau.

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“I always say that you have to improve every day if you are the best player in the world. Not in my case. But for example, Rafa says every day that he always improve every day,” Alcaraz noted. 

“You can improve everything every day. And I would say everything. I have to improve everything.”

In a Spanish-language interview with Marca after his victory in Madrid, Alcaraz stated his goal was to win a Grand Slam in 2022 – and that he hoped it would come in Paris.

Thanks to his assured victory over Londero on Sunday, he took a step closer to reaching that dream.