Alcaraz Reflects On 'Perfect Tournament' After Claiming First Indian Wells Crown
Carlos Alcaraz was just about perfect during his run to the BNP Paribas Open title. In his Sunday press conference after a dominant 6-3, 6-2 final win against Daniil Medvedev, he said as much when reflecting on his third ATP Masters 1000 trophy and his return to the top of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
"It feels amazing to lift the trophy here, to recover the No. 1 [ranking]. I would say this has been the perfect tournament," he reflected. "It was good for me, [at] this tournament that I really wanted to win, and for me, it's amazing."
Alcaraz was untouchable from start to finish in the desert, never more so than in the title match. He did not lose a set during his run, becoming the first Indian Wells champion to achieve that feat since Roger Federer in 2017, and the first to do so in at least six matches since Rafael Nadal in 2007.
The 19-year-old entered the final with the confidence of a man who reached the final in all three of his 2023 events, including his Buenos Aires title and his eventual Indian Wells triumph. His crystal-clear thinking on the court helped him end Medvedev's 19-match winning streak in emphatic fashion.
"I have no doubts about my shots," he said. "I feel really comfortable on court. I really trust in every shot that I hit.
"Of course, that's why I'm playing a great level, because if I miss, I don't mind. I don't care about the miss. I'm just trying to hit 100 per cent in every shot and having no doubts about the shot."
Alcaraz reached the semi-finals last year in Indian Wells, falling in a three-set classic against countryman Nadal. Asked how he has improved since then, Alcaraz pointed to his poise rather than his game.
"I think my tennis didn't improve so much since last year," he explained. "What I improved a lot is to [not] take the pressure, just to play relaxed. That's for me the most important thing. That's why I show a great level, because I feel like I have no pressure. I enjoy. I'm playing relaxed. I would say I improved that a lot, and that's why I'm playing a good level."
While Alcaraz made it look easy on the court, he showed his human side by revealing that he did feel nerves.
"I try to show that [I'm relaxed], but honestly, I was nervous," he admitted. "But this is something that I talk [about] with my team, to show the opponent that I'm relaxed, that I'm enjoying the final.
"But of course it's normal to have nerves and you have to handle that. All the best players in the world in that moment, they handle the nerves really, really well and play such a great level. That's what I try to do."
He finished his answer with a smile: "But I was nervous."
Next up for Alcaraz is a bid to defend his Miami title on the opposite coast of the United States. He will need to retain his South Florida crown to remain atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings following the year's second ATP Masters 1000 event.