New Delhi: Carlos Alcaraz gears up for his debut at the 2024 Australian Open, having missed the previous year’s tournament due to a hamstring injury. Seeded second in the men’s draw, the 20-year-old Spaniard expressed his eagerness to compete and make his mark on the Grand Slam stage.
Alcaraz, the Wimbledon champion, acknowledges the challenge posed by his main rival, Novak Djokovic, the 10-time and defending Australian Open champion. Despite not playing a competitive match since the ATP Finals in November, Alcaraz remains a favorite for the title, showcasing his star quality.
In preparation, he participated in two exhibition matches, securing a victory against Djokovic in Riyadh on December 27 but falling to Alex de Minaur in a charity match in Melbourne last week.
Reflecting on his excitement to return to Australia, Alcaraz shared his anticipation for the tournament, emphasizing how he missed the action while watching from the sidelines last year. “I’m really excited to play here in Australia again. I missed it last year, watching all the matches,” said Alcaraz to Eurosport.
However, he faces an additional challenge with the absence of his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, who underwent surgery. Despite this setback, Alcaraz remains connected with Ferrero through daily communication, expressing optimism about the coach’s recovery and potential return later in the season.
“Juan Carlos had surgery,” Alcaraz explained. “But it’s something that can happen to anyone. He’s recovering and hopefully (I’ll have) him for the rest of the season. (We’ll talk) every day. He’s not here, but almost. We text every day, before the matches. I’m almost with him.”
The young talent had a remarkable 2023, clinching the Wimbledon crown and winning six titles while navigating between world No. 1 and No. 2 in the rankings. Surprisingly, the thought of becoming the top-ranked player never crossed Alcaraz’s mind. He emphasizes the importance of focusing on his game, staying true to himself, and continuously improving without getting entangled in the complexities of rankings and tournament defenses.
“I didn’t know that I could become world No.1,” he added.
“One of the best things I can do is not think about the points, not think about defending tournaments, and just focus on being myself, playing my tennis and improving the things I have to improve.”