One of the things that sets Carlos Alcaraz apart is the fact that he has always been an open book when discussing his hopes and dreams in the tennis world, even if they are more lofty than most. The Spaniard, who used to shout from the rooftops that his wish was to become the number 1 player in the world, achieved his goal on September 12 when he won the US Open.
But being the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings is not enough. Now that he has reached the top of the mountain, Alcaraz plans to stay there.
However, that is not his only goal for this season; he also has his sights set on the Nitto ATP Finals, the tournament that will bring together the best players of 2022 in Turin, from 13 to 20 November.
“One of my goals is to finish [the year] as number 1,” said Alcaraz, who has matched Carlos Moyà’s two-week stint at the top of the rankings. “Now that I’m there, my goal is to stay for as many days, weeks and months as possible. That’s what we’re going to work for.”
His coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, is on board with that message. “It’s been seven long and tough weeks on tour. It’s time to rest and recharge the batteries for what’s to come. [Maintaining No. 1️] until the end of the year will be a whole new challenge. We will fight for it!” he wrote on his personal Instagram account.
Alcaraz follows in Ferrero’s footsteps. After winning a Grand Slam – Roland Garros in 2003 – he climbed to the top of the Pepperstone ATP rankings after a run to the US Open final. Now Alcaraz is chasing a title in the Nitto ATP Finals, a feat the Valencian came so close to in 2002 (l. van Lleyton Hewitt in the final) and which only two Spaniards have achieved (Manuel Orantes, 1976; Álex Corretja, 1998 ).
“I have several tournaments before the [Nitto] ATP Finals and we are going to give everything,” said Alcaraz. “I have several important tournaments and one goal is to try to make the [Nitto] ATP final.” Alcaraz already has a guaranteed place in the season finale, as does Rafael Nadal. The two Spaniards are the only men to have secured their tickets to Turin.
However, there are still several months of competition to go and the most immediate concern is a short break.
“I want to take a few days not to think about tennis, just enjoy being with my people, my friends and my family,” said the Murcian resident. “Right now I want to try to be a normal guy and with my friends, that’s what I’m most excited about.”
Once that break is over, he will experience something new and take the TBEN to court as the best player in the world according to the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
“If I’m alone on the track, we’ll see how I deal with the pressure of being the number 1 in the world, but I’m going to try not to think about it and have fun on the track.”
Finally, the 19-year-old Spaniard revealed that his intention is to keep doing what he was doing, despite his recent success.
“You’re a certain way before you reach number 1 and become a Grand Slam champion, so why change that?” Alcaraz wondered. “You have to do what you did, feel comfortable with what you’re doing, have fun, be happy on the court, play tennis – and that’s what I’m going to do. That’s the secret for me. To try everything else forget and enjoy tennis.”