Roland-Garros – Carlos Alcaraz: “I wanted to win it since I was 6 years old”

This Sunday, a new winner was crowned Roland Garros. It is Carlos Alcaraz who has registered his name on the prestigious Parisian Grand Slam list and who has thus imitated his compatriots Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya, Sergi Bruguera, Alberto Costa, Andres Giméno and his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero. In the final, he tamed Alexander Zverev at the end of a big showdown finished in five sets, 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, in 4h19. Already a faller Jannik Sinner in five sets in the semis, the Spaniard fought hard again to finish the tournament in style and won his third Grand Slam title, after theUS Open 2022 And Wimbledon 2023, thus becoming the youngest player to have won at least one Grand Slam title on each surface. He will be world No. 2 on Monday, ahead of Novak Djokovic and behind Sinner. “It's both different and the same. Winning a Grand Slam is so special. Above all, adding my name to the list of all the Spanish players who have won here is an honor. Roland-Garros, I wanted to win it since I was six years old.” Lyrics of Carlitos this Sunday at a press conference.

Carlos Alcaraz after winning Roland-Garros 2024

Find here the Gentlemen’s table for Roland-Garros 2024

Find the Roland-Garros 2024 Ladies table here

“I’ve dreamed of being in this place since I started playing tennis”

Congratulations Carlitos! Can you compare the feeling of winning this first Roland-Garros or your first Grand Slam last year to the US Open or your first Wimbledon?

It's a different tournament but it's the same feeling. Winning a Grand Slam is always special; when it's the first in a place, it's always very special. But here at Roland Garros, knowing that all the Spanish players have won these tournaments, putting my name on this incredible list is great. I've dreamed of being in this place since I started playing tennis, since I was 5/6 years old. So, it’s really an amazing feeling!

“I’m going to tattoo the Eiffel Tower and today’s date on my left ankle”

Can you tell us about your tattoo? Where are you going to put it? Why did you do it after each Grand Slam?

That's a good first question. I have to find the time but I will definitely do it on the left ankle. Wimbledon was the right ankle; here, it will be the left, I think anyway, with the Eiffel Tower, today's date. It's something I'm going to do anyway. I don't know if it will be next week or if it will take a month or two but I will do it.

Congratulations, three Grand Slams, three different surfaces. Can you explain how, as you progressed, you developed a game that you could play equally well on all surfaces?

I grew up on clay, but the majority of tournaments on the circuit are on hard surfaces. So I had to train more on hard surfaces, have precision on hard surfaces. I felt a little more comfortable moving around, hitting my shots on hard court. I feel like my game adapts very well to each surface, because I train there with the drop shots, with my volleys. I wanted to develop my own style by being aggressive all the time.

Of course, you have to practice on the different surfaces. My main goal is to be as aggressive as possible. So, on grass, it works very well. I have to do it all the time on grass. But on all surfaces, I think it's a good thing.

“The 5th set? This is where the best players produce their best tennis”

You came here saying “I'm not well prepared, I couldn't play the three tournaments that preceded it”, you played every time and every time you go to the fourth, fifth set. Today you lost three games in the last two sets. Among all the five-set matches you played, you won 11 out of 12. The only one you lost was 7-6 in the 5th set. How do you explain it? Where do you find all that energy when you get to the last inning, the last play of a game?

I know that when you play a fifth set, you have to give everything, you have to give your heart, and in those moments, that's when the best players produce their best tennis. So often I've wanted to be among the best players in the world, so I have to do a little more in those moments in the fifth set.

I have to show the opponent that I'm fresh and that it's like we're playing the first play of the match. I think it works well if the opponent sees that I move well, that I hit good shots and that I find good solutions. Of course, mental strength plays an important role at these times. So, I think that's why I had a lot of success in the fifth set. And of course, you have to take this in the fifth set if you want to win a Grand Slam.

“When I go for it, I feel much better, too bad if I lose the point”

I wanted to ask you a question about your style of play. You make high-risk shots. Does your team and coach want you to do this or do they want you to be more defensive at important moments of the game. Do they tell you the same thing? Do you listen to them or do what you want?

Sometimes I do what they tell me and sometimes I don't, it depends on how I feel at the time. But in those moments I try to be aggressive, to rush headlong, to play my style of play, to go to the net, to make drop shots, to hit powerful shots, because if I miss, my feelings are good: too bad if I lose the point, too bad if I miss. Because when I go for it, I feel much better. If I'm defensive and I lose the point, it's negative. So at that moment, my team said to me: “go for it” and I also said to myself: “go for it”.

“It’s normal to feel pain, otherwise we’re not human”

You had medical treatment in the fourth set, I think. What was the problem with your leg? How did you overcome it? What did you do to have the strength you needed for the end of the match? Is this something you felt before or did it just happen?

This is something I started to feel in the semi-final, playing a very demanding five-set match against Jannik on clay. After this match, obviously, it's normal to feel something, otherwise you're not human. I started the match without any pain, without feeling anything in particular, of course I took care of it, I put some type in this area. And at the end of the third set, beginning of the fourth, I started to feel that area a little bit. That's why I called the physiotherapist, just as a precaution.

Afterwards, I was able to move around correctly. I started lying to myself better and better. Then the physiotherapist came a few more times, because I was having cramps, difficult physical problems, difficult moments. But I was able to manage all that in the best possible way and I was able to finish the match with good feelings.

“I believed in myself in every round until the last ball of today’s match”

You spoke on court about the difficult preparation with injuries. Is this something you were able to do in this tournament despite winning? How did you manage to achieve good results, despite difficult preparations? Many players could not have performed at such a good level after losing so many tournaments before.

Before the tournament, I considered myself a player who doesn't need too many matches behind me to be 100%. I spent a great week here in Paris, training with good players. I felt very good playing sets, moving my shots before the tournament started. Of course, every match I played, I improved one match after another.

This is all the work I did on a daily basis before coming here. Every day here during the tournament it has been great work with my team. It helped me to be 100% physically and mentally and to hit good shots, to put a good level of tennis on the court. This is why my performances were better at the end of the tournament. I believed in myself every round, every day until the last ball of today's match.

An important and very short question: where is your US Open tattoo?

He's behind my elbow. This is the date of my victory.

“This trophy is the one I am most proud of…”

You've already made a lot of records, the youngest number 1, now the youngest with three different Grand Slam titles, etc. Of everything you have done so far, what are you most proud of?

This is a difficult question. Of course winning the US Open. When I first became number 1, it was a dream since I started playing tennis. Having my first Grand Slam title was special. Honestly, the way I won Wimbledon by beating Djokovic in 5 sets, it was an incredible result for me.

Now, lifting the Roland-Garros trophy, knowing everything I've been through in recent months with injuries etc. I don't know, maybe this trophy is the moment I'm most proud of because everything I've done in recent months to be ready for this tournament, with my team… We talked a lot together to know if I should train or not. All the discussions with them were something very difficult for me. This trophy is the one I am most proud of.

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