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Following win over Djokovic, Alcaraz looking ahead to final — but also to Grand Slam glory

Carlos Alcaraz already has one Masters 1000 title to his name and he can win another one on Sunday in Madrid. But bigger and better things — like Grand Slams — are understandably one his mind.

Carlos Alcaraz Madrid 2022 Carlos Alcaraz, 2022 © AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Mutua Madrid Open | Draw Order of play

Carlos Alcaraz has already made history at the Mutua Madrid Open by becoming the first player to beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches on a clay court.

Alcaraz’s reward is a matchup with Alexander Zverev in the final and a chance to secure his second Masters 1000 title.

“At the end of good victories, you also have to enjoy them,” the 19-year-old said following his 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) semi-final defeat of Djokovic when asked if he would have time to reflect on his achievements despite the whirlwind of winning so many big matches day after day. “You know, [you don’t want] to lose the feet on the ground, but you have to enjoy them.

“After today’s match, well, of course with my team, with my family, we are going to have a great time to enjoy the moment. But I think that tomorrow I’m going to play a final of a really big tournament, and tonight I’m going to be very focused to be able to recover and to be as best as possible for tomorrow’s match.”

I feel ready to compete against them in every single tournament.

Carlos Alcaraz

Considering the amazing level at which Alcaraz is currently playing, he will have more on his mind than Sunday’s final. As big as a Masters 1000 final is, the world No. 9 has even bigger things on his mind. Having already lifted one Masters trophy this season (Miami) and moving to No. 2 in the 2022 race to Turin on Monday, Alcaraz looks poised to contend for Grand Slam titles — not in the distant future, but right now.

“I would say yes,” he responded after being asked if he can compete with the likes of Nadal and Djokovic in Grand Slams. “I would say that I feel ready to compete against them in every single tournament, on every single surface.

“In a Grand Slam, it’s completely different. I think that when you have to play to the best-of-five sets, given that the matches are longer, I will tell you that it’s different compared to all the rest of the tournaments. But I think that I am ready. The best ones, well, they have been winning for so long Grand Slam (titles), making it to the finals, because mentally they are made of another material. But I think that I am ready.”

Djokovic encouraged despite defeat

Alcaraz wasn’t the entire story on Saturday, as it takes two players to create an instant classic. Djokovic certainly played his part — and played his best match of the season.

“It was a fantastic match; great battle,” the world No. 1 assessed. “I definitely played very good tennis, I mean, the best that I have played this year. Probably when the disappointment of losing this match passes, I will have a lot of positives to take away from this week.

“(I) wasn’t able to capitalize when it mattered. He did. Congrats to him…. He held his nerves very well. For somebody of his age to play so maturely and courageously is impressive. He deserved to win.”

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