By Santiago Aparicio
Sports Desk, Apr 4 (EFE).- With his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy under his belt after a historic win in Miami, rising Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz cemented his status as one of the sport’s most promising talents and finds himself on the cusp of the top 10.
The 18-year-old from Murcia, southeastern Spain, became the youngest Miami Open champion when he beat Norwegian Casper Ruud in straight sets at the Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
And while Alcaraz tries not to let the hype surrounding his meteoric rise go to his head, in an interview with Efe he makes no secret of his next objective — a Grand Slam.
QUESTION: First of all, congratulations, Carlos. Have you had time to process it all yet or are you still in the clouds?
ANSWER: A bit better but still in the clouds. I’m better than I was at the start. When the match ended I didn’t really know what I’d just done but now I’m processing it little by little.
Q: Have you been able to celebrate it?
A: In the end the celebration is to be with my family, my team and luckily I’m with them. I didn’t get much time to celebrate it in Miami but in Murcia, at home with the family and friends, I’ll enjoy it a little more.
Q: How did you manage to stay on top of your emotions and nerves during a final like that?
A: I controlled them too well. If you think that I wasn’t nervous at the final, it’s because I managed it well. The truth is I was nervous from the first hit to the last. But it’s true that I’ve gotten better at it and little by little I’ve been coming to terms with the fact I was in a Masters 1000 final and I had to play my best to win.
Q: How does an 18-year-old like yourself digest everything that’s going on?
A: In the end I’m achieving my dream. That’s clear. It’s also clear to me that I have to keep working.
Q: Have you beaten all the expectations you had for yourself at this point?
A: I’m on the right path at the right moment. All of this is a result of the work I’m putting in. In the end, I’m working very hard each day to have these experiences.
Q: You have won three tournaments, one of them a Masters 1000. You are 11th in the world, one step from the top 10. You’re the second-best player of the season, what’s your next goal: a Grand Slam? The ATP Finals?
A: I have a 250, a 500 and now a Masters 1000… I’m not scared to say that I’m going for a Grand Slam. It’s tricky but I think I’m ready to win a Grand Slam or compete for one. I showed in this tournament that I can beat any player at the moment and I hope to stay at this level. Another objective is to reach the ATP Finals and experience that.
Q: I imagine you’ve got used to the comparisons with Rafael Nadal.
A: I’ve always said if they compare you with Rafa you’re doing something right and you’re on the right path. But in the end Rafa is Rafa, one of the best players in the history of the sport, incredible. I’m an 18-year-old who has just arrived on the Tour and is fulfilling his dreams.EFE