Alcaraz: My goal is to get back to No. 1, but without obsessing about it

By Carlos A. Moreno

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 20 (EFE).- Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz, who has just won his first tournament back after a four-month injury hiatus, told Efe here Monday that his goal this season is to reclaim the No. 1 ranking.

But he says he won’t make that pursuit an obsession.

“It’s true my goal is to get back to No. 1, but I try not to harp on it too much,” the 19-year-old phenom said in an interview with Efe during a visit to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, where he arrived early Monday to try to defend the clay-court title he won last year.

The current world No. 2 said that despite his rankings goal he will try to enjoy each and every tournament he plays this season.

“I do have a very demanding year ahead, in which I’m defending big titles. But they’re nice tournaments I’m looking forward to going back to, and I want to enjoy them. That’s the most important goal,” the winner of last season’s Miami Open, Madrid Open and US Open (his first Grand Slam title) said.

With his victory last week at the Argentina Open, a clay-court event in Buenos Aires, Alcaraz now has 6,480 ATP points.

That total still leaves him well behind 35-year-old Serbian all-time great Novak Djokovic (7,070 points), who wrested away the top spot from the Spaniard by winning this season’s first Grand Slam event, the Australian Open.

But with a second consecutive title at this week’s Rio Open, Alcaraz would have nearly 7,000 points and be nipping at the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s heels.

“You don’t know (when the Spaniard will get back to No. 1), because it also doesn’t depend exclusively on me. It also depends on Djokovic, who’s there fighting. And it also depends on (Stefanos) Tsitsipas (who is in third place with 5,940 points) and on many players who are at the top” of the sport, Alcaraz said.

“I’ll give my best at every tournament, and we’ll see when I get back (to No. 1), that is, if I do get back there,” he added.

Speaking about the leg injury that kept him out for four months, caused him to miss out on what would have been his maiden appearance at the ATP Finals and forced him to withdraw from the Australian Open, Alcaraz said it was a difficult time for him.

“Going four months without training, without competing was very hard, but in Buenos Aires I felt I was already at the same level I was at before and I got better in each match,” he said. EFE


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