In the mid-afternoon, before Carlos Alcaraz turned Arthur Ashe upside down again and reached his first grand final, a group of journalists on the outside terrace were interested in Martin Landaluce, the Madrid native who will play the final in the category this Saturday junior. The boy, 16 years old and 1.91 tall, said that his main reference until now had been the German Alexander Zverev, but that now his preferences had changed and that Carlos Alcaraz had become his new mirror . Between one and the other, only three years apart.
“I am very happy to transmit good values to young people,” the Murcian replied about it in the conference room, already located just one win from the New York title and number one, which his rival on Sunday, the Norwegian Casper Ruud; “I am glad to know that I am an example and that I can help him in his career. All the young people already know that I am there to help. It does not cause me responsibility because it is not something that makes it obligatory, being the way I am or what I transmit on the track, but rather it comes naturally to me”.
Despite his youth, Alcaraz’s dazzling professional rise forces him to behave like an adult. He, however, says that he is still Carlitos, the same boy from El Palmar who dreamed of reaching the summit and fantasized about his friends. “I feel like a 19-year-old boy,” he says. “It is true that perhaps I have matured very quickly, but that is what tennis does. In tournaments maybe I do feel a bit older, with more responsibilities I would say; but once home, with my friends, my family and my people, I feel like a 19-year-old boy”, he adds.
He and Ruud (23 years old) will star in the youngest US Open final since the last two great American tennis heroes collided in 1990, Andre Agassi (20) and Pete Sampras (19). And both play it to a letter. Whoever wins will wear the number one and will premiere his locker in the majors. A situation that does not alter one iota his predisposition towards a circumstance for which, he emphasizes, he has prepared thoroughly. The protagonist sensed and tennis sensed that the milestone would come sooner rather than later.
The Miami Precedent
“The truth is that I am not afraid of that moment. It is something for which I have prepared myself mentally and physically, to live it and to be fighting for great things. Now it’s time to recover and enjoy. Tomorrow will be the key day to prepare for the final. I’m not afraid of the final”, he affirms, making it clear that the day before the pulse (22.00, Eurosport) he will follow the same routines that he has carried out so far; that is, recovery, preparation at the hotel, a walk through downtown Manhattan with his family and a good rest, with his technical team and physio Juanjo Moreno on top so that everything is perfectly ready.
In just over a year and a half in the elite, Alcaraz has won eight of the nine games he has played in five sets. A fact that does not respond, much less, to the triviality. The tennis player has imbued himself with the spirit of work and the work discipline of his team. In sessions at the gym, he usually exercises side by side with his trainer, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and with Moreno himself.
“I believe in myself and my game, and I try to be fresh physically. I think in all [los partidos a cinco sets], or in the majority, I have been well physically and mentally prepared. In Australia I lost one with Berrettini that could have fallen on my side”, he points out before emphasizing: “In the key moments is when I give my best version, and that is the fundamental thing. I am not worried at all that this effort weighs me down. Today it has been shown that I am prepared to be able to play good tennis despite the hours I have been on the court and regular rest for finishing so late”.
Regarding Ruud, a earthling Originally he has taken self-confidence on cement, the Murcian remembers that he has beaten him the two times they have faced each other. “I beat him in Miami,” he clarifies at the outset, without citing the previous episode in Marbella. “I think I am capable of beating him again. He has already played a Grand Slam final and he already knows what that moment is like, but many things have also been new for me and in the end I have faced them in a good way. On Sunday I am going to do it again, I am going to face it again being the same as always, ”he ditches before heading to Times Square at dawn, where he is staying.
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Source: EL PAIS