Australian Open 2024: Alcaraz, with out half measures: “I want to play the final against Djokovic” | Tennis | Sports | EUROtoday

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Carlos Alcaraz bursts into the Melbourne Park convention room like somebody about to play a sport of poker. Neutral gesture, a bit harsh. Contained expressiveness. What some tennis gamers informally name Grand Slam approach. She barely hides her gaze beneath the Michael Jordan cap that he wears on this drizzly Saturday and in addition hides his letters. This just isn’t the time to indicate them. He has not performed any official match earlier than this assault on the Australian Open – simply a few exhibitions towards Alex de Miñaur and Casper Ruud – and he doesn’t need to supply too many clues to his opponents about what he has had essentially the most affect on through the preseason in Villena (Alicante), the place he has completely tuned, he says, thoughts, physique and sport. Count on him, she anticipates.

“I think I’m prepared to have a good tournament,” the world quantity two introduces when requested from the journalists’ stands why he has determined to not compete earlier than tackling the primary main of the season. “We finished the previous season very late [el 18 de noviembre, tras la disputa de las semifinales de la Copa de Maestros] and I prefer to have a few days of rest to recover my physique and my head. I spoke with my team and I preferred to do a good preseason, four or five weeks, to prepare well. So we preferred to come directly here. I think I’m a guy who doesn’t need a lot of competition before a big tournament, although it obviously helps,” he argues.

The 20-year-old from Murcia will parade for the third time within the main Australian, after the steps of 2021 and 2022. Then he signed the second and third spherical, respectively, however now he emerges as the principle opposition to the almighty Novak Djokovic. The 36-year-old Serbian has gained 4 of the final 5 editions, ten of the final sixteen. Only Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka have been capable of beat him on the Rod Laver Arena. “It’s an extra motivation and I’m an ambitious guy. I like to play against the best to know what my level is. Playing against him here, where he is almost undefeated, would be a good test. Yes, I want to reach the final and I hope to play against him,” says the most recent Wimbledon champion.

In the background, his agent, Albert Molina, and the person who will direct him lately from the bench, Samuel López, observe his intervention earlier than the reporters. The Alicante native, Pablo Carreño’s common coach, replaces Juan Carlos Ferrero in Melbourne, who not too long ago underwent surgical procedure to endure arthroscopy on his knee. “Well, it’s hard not to be with him because he travels almost one hundred percent of the tournaments; Probably, last year he only missed just one or two… [Buenos Aires y Río de Janeiro]. It will be difficult to face a big tournament without him,” she explains, “but I also have Sam, who is a great coach; He trained Juan Carlos when he played and I also trust him. I believe in him. I think I can also learn a lot. Let’s see how it goes, but I trust him 100%.”

Alcaraz, on Thursday during the exhibition against Casper Ruud.
Alcaraz, on Thursday during the exhibition against Casper Ruud.Kelly Defina (Getty Images)

Alcaraz landed in the city on January 7, after spending Christmas with his family in Murcia, and since then he has been exercising at full capacity in a setting that generates good vibes. He will debut on Tuesday (at a time to be determined) against the veteran Richard Gasquet and is confident, now, of leaving his mark. Last year he could not attend due to a last-minute injury and in the previous two he ran into the Swede Mikael Ymer – retired at the age of 24 after being suspended for 18 months for doping – and the Italian Matteo Berrettini. But, today, that second and third round achieved already sounds like a meager prize for a tennis player with the greatest ambition, capable of beating Nole on the London carpet and keeping up with the Serbian for an entire year. He’s back at it again.

“I have been feeling very good in training. The first days were a bit of adaptation, to see how my level was, but the truth is that I felt good and little by little I have been improving small details that I had to improve for the tournament. And, at the moment, physically I feel very, very good, and tennis-wise I think we are at a good level,” he extends in Spanish after beforehand firing off an encouraging phrase in English for 2024 wherein he aspires to redouble his risk towards Djokovic. Alcaraz conveys it with a half smile: “I think this year is going to be good…”.

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