One of the things that sets Carlos Alcaraz apart is the fact that he has always been an open book when discussing his hopes and dreams in the world of tennis, even though they are loftier than most. The Spaniard, who used to shout from the rooftops that his desire was to be the No. 1 player in the world, achieved his goal on 12 September when he won the US Open.
But being the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings is not enough. Now that he has reached the top of the mountain, Alcaraz intends to stay there.
However, that is not his only goal for this season; he also has his sights set on the Nitto ATP Finals, the tournament that brings together the best players of 2022 in Turin, from 13 to 20 November.
“One of my goals is to finish [the year] as No. 1,” said Alcaraz, who has equalled Carlos Moyà’s two-week stint at the top of the pile. “Now that I’ve got there, my goal is to stay as many days, weeks and months as possible. We’re going to work for that.”
His coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, is on board with that message. “It has been seven long and tough weeks on tour. It is time to rest a bit and recharge batteries for what is yet to come. [Maintaining No. 1️] until the end of the year will be a whole new challenge. We’ll fight for it!” he wrote on his personal Instagram account.
Alcaraz is following in the footsteps of Ferrero. After winning a Grand Slam — Roland Garros in 2003 — he climbed to the top of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings following a run to the US Open final. Now Alcaraz is chasing a a title at the Nitto ATP Finals, a feat that the Valencian came so close to in 2002 (l. to Lleyton Hewitt in the final) and which only two Spaniards have achieved (Manuel Orantes, 1976; Álex Corretja, 1998).
“I have several tournaments before the [Nitto] ATP Finals and we’re going to give it our all,” said Alcaraz. “I have several important tournaments and one goal is to try and win the [Nitto] ATP Finals.” Alcaraz already has a guaranteed place at the season finale, as does Rafael Nadal. The two Spaniards are the only men who have secured their tickets to Turin.
However, there are still several months of competition to go and the most immediate concern is taking a short break.
“I want to take a few days to not think about tennis, just enjoy being with my people, my friends and my family," the Murcia native said. "Right now, I want to try and be a normal guy and be with my friends, which is what I feel like doing most.”
Once that break is over, he will experience something new, taking to court on the ATP Tour as the best player in the world according to the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
“When I’m alone on court, we’ll see how I handle the pressure of being the World No. 1, but I’m going to try not to think about it and enjoy myself on court.”
Lastly, the 19-year-old Spaniard revealed that his intention is to keep doing what he has been doing, despite his recent success.
“You are a certain way before you reach No. 1 and become a Grand Slam champion, so why change that?” Alcaraz wondered. “You have to do what you have been doing, feel comfortable with what you do, enjoy yourself, be happy on court, play tennis — and that is what I’m going to do. That’s the secret for me. To try and forget everything else and enjoy playing tennis."