By Carlos A. Moreno |
Rio de Janeiro (EFE) become obsessed with the idea.
“The truth is that my goal is to return to number one, but I try not to bother myself too much with that,” said Alcaraz, 19, in an interview with EFE in Rio de Janeiro, where this week he will defend the Rio de Janeiro Open title that he won. last year.
The current number 2 in the ATP rankings assured that, despite the goal of returning to the top of the ranking, he will try to enjoy each of the tournaments he will play in the season that began victoriously in Argentina.
“It is true that a very demanding year awaits me, in which I defend great titles, but they are beautiful tournaments to which I want to return and I want to enjoy them. That is the most important objective, ”said the tennis player in the interview he gave during his visit to the Sugar Loaf hill, one of the main tourist attractions in Rio.
After the title in Buenos Aires, Alcaraz reached 6,480 points in the ATP, still far from the Serbian Novak Djokovic, who has 7,070 and snatched first place in the standings.
The Rio de Janeiro Open
Alcaraz can start deducting points from the Serbian if he wins the Rio de Janeiro Open this week, the only ATP 500 tournament in South America, and whose title he will defend on the clay courts of the Brazilian Jockey Club.
His rival in the first round, this Tuesday, will be the Brazilian Mateus Alves (556 ATP), 22, considered a local promise.
“I come to defend the title. I am going to face the tournament thinking that I can win it, thinking that I have the level and the ability to achieve it. And that is the goal. Try to defend the title,” he noted.
The victory in Rio de Janeiro would leave the Spaniard with almost 7,000 points and very close to Djokovic.
“It is not known (when he will return to first place), even because it does not depend exclusively on me either. It also depends on Djokovic, who is there, fighting, and also depends on Tsitsipas (the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas who threatens his second position with 5,940 points) and many players who are at the top, ”he said.
“I will give my best in each tournament and we will see when I recover it (number one), if I recover it,” he added.
The Murcian stated that in Buenos Aires, where he beat the British Cameron Norrie (number 13 in the world and who will also be his main adversary in Rio) in the final, he felt that he had already recovered the physical and psychological level he had five months ago, when won the 2022 US Open.
“Being four months without training or competing was very hard, but in Buenos Aires I felt that I was already at the same level with which I came and every game was better,” said Alcaraz, who was unemployed due to an injury that prevented him from playing, between other tournaments, the Masters Cup in Turin and the Australian Open.
A special place for Carlos Alcaraz
Despite the accumulated fatigue in Argentina, Alcaraz asked the organizers of the Brazilian tournament to plan the visit to the Sugar Loaf because he arrived in Rio with his relatives and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Last year he already went to the Corcovado hill to see the Christ the Redeemer.
But the tour was doubly special because he not only got to know the emblematic Rio de Janeiro hill, which he praised for its impressive views, but he did it accompanied by his friends and flew in a helicopter for the first time in his life.
“Rio de Janeiro is a very special place. Here I had my first victory in an ATP tournament (in 2020 when I was 16 years old) and I won my first 500 title. And being able to come and live this city with my family is very special”, he highlighted.
Alcaraz admitted that until now his family rarely accompanied him to tournaments, but little by little he is doing so more. “It’s very special because it’s as if he brought part of home,” he stressed.