Parallel to his professional career, Pablo Carreno has been a direct witness to the growth and emergence of Carlos Alcarazwith whom he shares a representative agent, Albert Molinaand training in Villena. John Charles Ferrero he is the coach of Murcia and Samuel López directs the Asturian.
“Everyone sees it now. At 18 years old he is already in the world top, playing face to face against all the players in the world. His potential will be decided by himself because he has all the physical, tennis and mental conditions, and he has a great team behind that is handling it in the best possible way. You have to be patient with him, but he can reach the maximum. He comes from winning a Masters 1.000 with 18 years, something that very few people can say”, affirms Carreño, who was already impacted in his first meeting with the Murcian.
“The first time I met Carlos was at the O2 Arena in London. I was in the top-10 and playing the Masters, he was 14 years old and went to play a U-14 tournament there and, as the same agent takes us, before playing my first match with Dominic Thiem He told me: ‘I have a kid here, he can rally with him, he plays very well.’ Sure? OK OK. And on Center Court at The O2, he missed fewer balls than I did. Simply with that I said to myself: ‘Oysters, this kid, at 14 years old, on a stage like this, I don’t know! I, at 14 years old, would not even have been able to pick up the racket on that court, but he was almost ready to play with Thiem”, recalls Pablo.
“I have lived very closely his progression training at the academy, especially during the pandemic. We were locked up there for several months and the training was of a very high level, which benefited me and I think it also benefited him a lot. to have that rapid evolution that it has had”, adds the Spaniard.
That year, in 2017, Carreño reached the best ranking of his career (10th), in the midst of dominating Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic y Roger Federer. The absence due to injury of the Swiss and the rise of the ‘Next Gen’ They draw a new scenario on the circuit, even with Pablo, 30 years old and 19th in the ranking, with the ambition of returning to the top-10.
“Federer is not here, but Djokovic and Nadal are there because they are showing it, but it is true that little by little they are getting older, so am I, and young people come from behind, like alcaraz, Musetti, Sinner, Repeat, I could be saying names for quite a while. They are players who also want their leading role and it will not be easy to return to the top-10. I have the advantage of experience, but the disadvantage is that they recover better and reach balls that cost me more. Being top-10 or not in the end will depend more on the level that I give than on what Federer or the youngsters can give,” Carreño analyzes.
“The ranking is always interesting and it’s good to be as high as possible, but right now I have to focus on myself, my goal is to get back to the level with which I started in Australia. The gravel tour is a good time to achieve it, I’ve already won two games in Monte Carlo and I’ve felt good here, so I’m sure I’ll get my feelings back and return to the level with which I started the year”, explains Pablo.
The man from Gijón won a brilliant Olympic bronze after winning the tokyo games to numbers 1 and 2, Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, playing perhaps the best tennis of his life. “I’m fine. On Saturday my neck area hurt a little, but at no time did I see my participation in the Godó in danger and on Monday I was already training practically at 100%. The evolution is very good”, indicates Pablo.
“Carlos Alcaraz, at 14 years old, was almost ready to play against Dominic Thiem”
Carreño, twice semifinalist of Godó (2018, 2021), will face the Italian this Thursday Lorenzo Sonego (28th) in the round of 16 after their firm victory against Barnabas Zapata (6-3, 6-3). “It will be tough, he is playing very well, he is close to the top-20 and has improved in recent years, he has a very powerful forehand and a very powerful serve. I am going to have to be very good and raise the level a bit”, said the Asturian , which continues to see “a great level” in the Godó despite the illustrious casualties such as that of Rafa Nadal.
“The Godó is a very competitive tournament, always very strong, there are very good players. Rafa’s loss is the one that everyone notices, for the tournament it is very bad news. It relieves us a little because without him we can open the draw a little more, but there are players like Tsitsipas, Ruud, Alcaraz, plenty of players to enjoy the tournament and make things very difficult”, concludes Carreño.