Alcaraz & Dybala On Success & Pressure
#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz and Juventus footballer Paulo Dybala have both enjoyed major highs over the past year.
Alcaraz captured his first tour-level trophy in Umag and enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals at the US Open, while Dybala won his fifth Serie A title in Italy in 2020. The pair caught up to discuss the similarities between tennis and football, including their pre-match routines, fighting nerves and much more in part one of a three-episode series in which Dybala also speaks with Matteo Berrettini and Diego Schwartzman.
When asked by Dybala about his preparation before a match, Alcaraz said: “The day before or on the match day, I try to watch videos of the opponent to see how he plays, his weaknesses. With my coach, we talk a little about how to take advantage of the opponent’s weak spots and he helps me with that.”
In comparison to Alcaraz, who has a small team working just with him before a match, Dybala reveals there are around 70 people, including the players, that attend Juventus’ training sessions each day, with focus also around analysing the opposition.
Dybala has played for the Italian giants since 2015, winning 12 major trophies in this time. The 18-year-old Alcaraz, however, only made his main-draw tour-level debut in 2020 and admitted he still struggles with nerves ahead of matches.
In offering advice on how to handle nerves, Dybala said: “I think you need to become stronger in difficult moments. I think you are young and I have seen you play and every point you win, you celebrate as if it were the last. Seeing you so young in big stadiums says a lot about you.
“As you raise your level, the pressures are bigger and bigger and people demand more. You have to try to turn that pressure into a strength and work on all the physical and mental points, so that you can control it.”
Alcaraz is at a career-high No. 35 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, having been outside the Top 150 in January. The Spaniard will make his debut at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan in November.
On his rapid rise, Alcaraz said: “I honestly did not expect these results at all. This year has been great, although there are still some tournaments left, I am very happy with the season. I started in the Australian Open qualifying at No. 160 in the rankings. My goal was to finish the year in the Top 50. It is incredible to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals, which means I have worked very hard this year.”