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‘Dream since I was five’

Updated on: 11 June,2024 07:44 AM IST  |  Paris

After nail-biting 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 win over Zverev in final, Spain’s Alcaraz says winning maiden French Open title is proudest moment of his career

‘Dream since I was five’

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz with his trophy after winning the French Open at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris yesterday. Pic/AFP

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‘Dream since I was five’

Carlos Alcaraz said emulating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s successes seems “impossible” after winning his maiden French Open title on Sunday with victory over Alexander Zverev.  The 21-year-old came from behind to win 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 and claim his third Grand Slam triumph. Alcaraz’s victory made him the youngest man to win Slam titles on clay, grass and hard courts.

Primed to dominate

With Roger Federer retired, Nadal expected to hang up his racquet this year and Djokovic having a poor season by his high standards, Alcaraz could be primed to dominate the sport for years to come. He is the eighth Spanish man to win the Coupe des Mousquetaires. “In Roland Garros, knowing all the Spanish players who have won this tournament and be able to put my name on that amazing list is something unbelievable,” Alcaraz told reporters. “Something that I dreamt about, being in this position, since I was started playing tennis, since I was five, six years old. So, it’s a great, great feeling.” 

Second-ranked Alcaraz has already won three major titles, five Masters 1000 tournaments and become the youngest ever World No. 1, but said Sunday’s triumph was his proudest moment so far. He had struggled with a right arm injury in the build-up to the tournament, missing both the Monte Carlo Masters and the Rome Open, either side of a quarter-final loss to Andrey Rublev in Madrid. “Right now, lifting the Roland Garros trophy, knowing everything that I have been through the last month with the injuries and all that stuff, I don’t know. Probably this one,” he said. “I’m really proud of myself, because of everything that I have done the last month just to be ready for this tournament.” 

Wimbledon up next

Alcaraz will next turn his attentions to the grass-court season and the defence of his Wimbledon title. But he already has one eye on returning to Roland Garros next month for the Paris Olympics, where he is expected to play alongside Nadal, 38, in doubles. “When I come back here for the Olympics, I will have flashbacks. It can be very nice, my first Games 40 days after winning my first Roland Garros,” he said. “I really want to fight to give my country a medal, be able to play doubles with my idol Rafa Nadal. Let’s fight. Coming back here is going to be a special feeling,” Alcaraz added.

Sinner steals No. 1 spot from Djokovic

Janik Sinner’s anticipated rise to world No. 1 was officialised on Monday when the ATP released its new rankings, making him the first Italian ever to hold the top spot. Sinner reached the semi-finals of the French Open where he was beaten by eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz who climbs to second, nudging 37-year-old Djokovic, who has been No. 1 since last September, down to third.

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