Alcaraz: 'I Want To Play Big Battles'
Spaniard survives match point scare on Wednesday
Carlos Alcaraz can be described in many ways, but fearful isn’t one of them.
The 19-year-old, seeded sixth at Roland Garros, had ice water in his veins as he stared down a match point in the fourth set of his second-round battle on Wednesday with Albert Ramos-Vinolas. He played fearlessly in the tightest moments of the fourth-set tie-break and maintained his intensity as they passed the four-hour mark, eventually smacking a ball into the stands with glee after his 6-1, 6-7(9), 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4 comeback.
”You always have nerves in the match, but I think I wasn’t nervous today,” said Alcaraz. “Just maybe at the end of the fourth set when I was down match point, there was maybe that thought, ‘Well, you are one point from losing.' But I tried not to think that I'm in Roland Garros. I'm trying to enjoy the moment.
”I respect him. I know him a lot. I knew that it was going to be a great match and a tough match. But I'm very happy with my level, being able to come back and of course beat him at the end.”
Alcaraz might still be a teenager who only secured his driver’s license a few months ago, but he’s no longer a rookie on Tour. Despite this being only his sixth Grand Slam appearance, he has a 4-1 record in five-set matches. He’s served out matches to win ATP Masters 1000 titles and defeat legends of the game. He’s played on show courts at every Grand Slam.
It might be a stretch to refer to a 19-year-old as a veteran, but he’s already gained a level of experience that only a select few of his peers on Tour can match.
”I'm still young, but I would say a pretty experienced player now. I feel comfortable playing in big stadiums, big matches, playing in Grand Slams,” said Alcaraz. “Physically and mentally, I'm strong. I think I'm ready to play these kinds of matches in these situations and these tournaments."
Perhaps most importantly, Alcaraz is relishing these moments. He riled the crowd up when the moment called for it against Ramos-Vinolas and took time to sign autographs after more than four hours of play.
His path doesn’t get easier as he gears up for a high-profile third-round showdown with No. 27 seed Sebastian Korda, but it’s a position that Alcaraz wants to continue finding himself in.
"In the fourth and fifth sets, I smiled with my team. So I enjoy the battles,” said Alcaraz. "I want to play big battles and tough battles against the best players in the world.”