MADRID, 15 Abr. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz has assured that the absence of players like Rafa Nadal or the Russian Daniil Medvedev “does not” make him feel “more favourite” at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell-70th Conde de Godó Trophy, despite defending the title won last year.
“There are big absences in the tournament like Rafa or like Medvedev, who were candidates to win the tournament. Their lack doesn’t make me feel more favourite. Every game is different and all the players in the draw can beat me. I have to be focused and play at my best level in each game. I don’t feel like a favourite, each game is a world and you have to play your best”, he declared in his press conference prior to the start of the tournament.
In this sense, he especially regretted the loss of the Spaniard, still recovering from his iliac psoas injury. “I am a tennis player but I am also a fan of tennis, I always want to see the best players in each tournament. Rafa, with what he has achieved here in Barcelona, it is a shame not to be able to have him here and enjoy his tennis. I wish him that he recovers as soon as possible to be able to enjoy his tennis in tournaments. It’s a shame not to have him here in Barcelona”, he stated.
The Murcian, who returns to competition after missing the Monte Carlo Masters 1,000 due to injury, acknowledged that he feels “good” ahead of the Barcelona tournament. “I have had two training sessions, with Shapovalov and with Casper -Ruud-, and they have gone very well for me. I need to get up to speed, play points, and these players are very good for me”, he said.
“They are different feelings. Coming to a tournament after having lost in the first round is not very good, but not having played any matches on clay, you have to pick up the competition rhythm again. Playing on rapids is different than on clay, I have I have to pick up the pace and I have several days ahead of my debut in Barcelona to be able to pick it up and feel as good as possible”, he added.
“It’s a place where I love to play. In Barcelona I have great memories, not only from last year’s title, but from when I played as a child. We’re going to try to avoid that pressure of defending the title by simply going out on the track to enjoy it. My family is coming, I have friends here, and we are going to think about everything except defending the title,” he continued.
In addition, he recognized that having done the South American clay tour, with the tournaments in Buenos Aires and Rio, helps him to return to clay in Europe. “Doing it helps with the confidence I have playing on clay. It hasn’t been that long since I switched from clay to hard and from hard to clay. The confidence on clay is there and we’re going to use it to play the best we can.” express. “Playing on clay is like being in a battle, and that’s what I like, every point is a battle. You have to play more tactically, that’s the beauty of playing on clay,” he continued.
The man from El Palmar will face the winner of the duel between Ilya Ivashka and Nuno Borges in the second round. “I am one of those who look at the possible path to the final, but in passing. I focus on the first round and from there I don’t go until I play it. All the players are very tough, they can beat you. It’s a tough round and a good match to start,” he said.
In another order of things, Alcaraz explained that “maturity” is the main change that he has experienced in the last year. “On the court I feel more mature, I feel that I read better the things that are happening to be able to change if something is going wrong. I feel the same in the face of blows. Tennis is very mental and the leap that I have made compared to the year past is about maturity and the ability to read things on the court”, he pointed out.
“On a personal level, what is happening to me hasn’t changed much. I feel like the same guy as always, with the same group of friends. You have to separate tennis from normal life,” he said. “The tennis players’ calendar is very demanding and you have to assess the tournaments you have to play, because discomfort and injuries appear. I’m learning that you have to take care of yourself as much as possible, not only on the court, but also off,” he continued.
Finally, he spoke about his rivalry with the Italian Jannik Sinner, who beat him in the semifinals of the Masters 1,000 in Miami. “We’re both still very young. We’ve played in big tournaments and we’ve fought for big things, and every time we play it’s great fun to watch and it’s great matches. I hope to have that rivalry with Jannik like those great players like Rafa have. , Djokovic and Roger. We get along very well off the track, that’s the beauty of our rivalry”, he concluded.
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