The tennis world has been buzzing with the exploits of Carlos Alcaraz, the Spaniard touted as Rafael Nadal’s heir apparent. Holding the world number 1 position on the ATP circuit, Alcaraz is considered one of the top contenders for this year’s final Grand Slam title.
The Murcia native had a tough road to the round of 16 at the US Open. His match against Britain’s Daniel Evans, ranked 28th, was an intense three-hour-long affair. Alcaraz emerged victorious with scores of 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, and 6-3. The fourth set showcased one of the most memorable moments of the tournament.
Trailing 3-2, Evans was serving. On a breakpoint opportunity for Alcaraz, Evans launched a deep ball. What followed was a dazzling exchange: After Alcaraz’s return, Evans volleyed a shot that seemed decisive. Yet, defying all odds, Alcaraz lunged for a spectacular retrieval, nearly toppling over, and managed to hit the ball right at the junction of the court’s side and baseline. As Alcaraz signaled for a review, a stunned Evans dropped his racquet in disbelief.
ESPN commentators mirrored the crowd’s astonishment. “I don’t believe it,” exclaimed Monica Puig, a former Puerto Rican tennis player and gold medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Reflecting on the match, Alcaraz shared, “In the fourth set we were playing a great match. I was focused on giving my best, trying to break his serve as soon as possible. I wasn’t worried if I could lose or not.” He further commented on his in-game motivation, “I try to do it as little as possible, but I’m a player who needs to get that anger out of me in any way. What is useful is to talk to yourself positively. Encourage yourself and think that things are going to work out well and that you can pull through.”
A Connection with the New York Crowd
Alcaraz’s success isn’t limited to this tournament. He claimed victory at Wimbledon earlier this year and was crowned champion at Flushing Meadows in 2022. The 20-year-old has a special rapport with the New York audience. “Here in the United States, they love the show. With the biggest court in the world, tennis is experienced differently. My style of play matches very well with what people want. They love it, and that’s why we have that great connection here,” he elaborated.
A Journey to Defend His Title
After impressive wins over German Koeper and South African Harris, Alcaraz is on a mission to defend his US Open title. His next challenge? Facing Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi in the round of 16. A potential clash with Novak Djokovic looms, but it would be reserved for the final showdown.
On Djokovic’s remarkable comeback against Laslo Djere, Alcaraz admitted he didn’t catch the end of the match due to sleep. However, he wasn’t surprised by the turn of events. “I saw the first two sets, then I had to go to sleep, but at that moment, I was thinking that Novak was going to come back, for sure. He proves once again that he’s one of the best ever. To be 36 years old and do the same things he did when he was 20, it’s unbelievable. We have to give him credit for that; it’s something I admire.”