Alcaraz explains his philosophy: “I don’t care if I miss. I just want to play 100 percent on every shot”

The Spaniard was brilliant on court to demolish Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells final, but he was equally brilliant in the press conference to explain his incredibly relaxed nature on the big occasions

Carlos Alcaraz photoshoot Indian Carlos Alcaraz, Indian Wells 2023 |© Zuma/Panoramic

On Sunday, Carlos Alcaraz won the third Masters 1000 title of his career after a masterclass against Daniil Medvedev. He once again impressed not only with the fullness of his powerful and complete tennis, but also with his ability, once again, to play his best tennis on the biggest occasion.

The final in Indian Wells weighed heavily on the Spaniard’s mind: because it is a tournament that is dear to his heart and he was determined to win it, at least enough to repeat it several times during his Californian campaign; and because this final against Medvedev, not the least fit player on the circuit, was synonymous with a possible return to the world No 1 spot in the world. In short, there was a lot at stake.

Did someone say pressure? What pressure? Juan Carlos Ferrero’s protégé bit into his final like a red apple, with enthusiasm and relish, without leaving the slightest bit of nectar. And above all without asking himself the slightest existential question. Compared to the 2022 edition, where he was beaten in the semi-finals by his compatriot Rafael Nadal, this is where Alcaraz felt he had made the most progress after his victory.

“I think my tennis didn’t improve so much since last year,” he told a press conference. “What I improve a lot is to don’t take the pressure, just to play relaxed, you know. That’s for me the most important thing. That’s why I show a great level, because I — well, I feel like I have no pressure. I enjoy. I’m playing relaxed. I would say I improved that a lot, and that’s why I’m playing a good level.”

“What I improve a lot is to don’t take the pressure, just to play relaxed, you know. That’s for me the most important thing.”

Carlos Alcaraz

Enjoying the moment… Given the way he insisted on it this during his tournament, you can tell that Carlos Alcaraz has had to work hard on this point in recent weeks. This is not surprising for a player who had to endure a lot of pressure after becoming the youngest world number one in history last year after winning the US Open at the age of 19. It must have been a heavy load to carry, and his results were affected at the end of the 2022 season, which ended badly for him with an abdominal injury that was certainly indicative of a mental burden as great as the physical one.

But for now the unbearable lightness of Alcaraz’s being is again apparent. “I try to show that (relaxation), but honestly, I was nervous,” he said. “But this is something that I talk with my team, you know, to show the opponent that I’m relaxed, that I’m enjoying the final.

“I have no doubts about my shots,” he said. “I feel really comfortable on court. I really trust in every shot that I hit. Of course, as I said, that’s why I’m playing a great level, because if I miss, I don’t mind. I don’t care about the miss. I just trying to hit 100 percent in every shot and having no doubts about the shot.”

Carlos Alcaraz is only 19 years old, but he could already be giving lectures, especially to those who put too much external pressure on a tennis match. On Sunday, the Spaniard’s masterclass was not only about tennis. It was mostly mental. But it’s so closely related…

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