“I thought, Where do I go now?” – Alcaraz reveals how his aspirations dimmed after winning first Slam
The 19-year-old reveals that he has been working with a psychologist, who has helped him become calmer
Achieving a lifelong dream can be immensely satisfying but can also throw up existential questions. For many tennis players, winning a Grand Slam or becoming the world’s top-ranked player has led to a period of struggle, resetting expectations and goals, and a lot of adjustments.
In a new interview with Vogue magazine, Alcaraz, now ranked No 2 in the world, reveals how he went through a tough period following his first Major title as he lost some of his drive.
“I had a bad period after I won the US Open. That sounds like I’m making it up, but…well, I enjoyed that moment a lot. But the truth is, when I had to go back into competition, there was a point when I went: ‘Stress!’ You know?,” Alcaraz said in the interview. “I think what happened was, when I saw that I’d achieved what I’d dreamed of since I was a little kid, unconsciously that aspiration dimmed a bit. And that was hard. Because no one was enjoying it—I wasn’t, on the court; Juanki (Note – his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero) wasn’t, seeing me so shut down and lacking in spark. I thought, Where do I go now?”
“Thanks to Isabel I’ve gotten much better. Feeling calm during such a demanding year is essential.” – Alcaraz on working with psychologist
The Spaniard also reveals during the interview that he has been working with a psychologist, Isabel Balaguer. “She’s helped me a lot,” Alcaraz says “I was a bit all over the place. I didn’t control my emotions well, I got really pissed off. When I was 15 or 16, I threw my racket around quite a bit, or I’d break one, and that put my game at risk. So, I knew I had to improve in that respect. Thanks to Isabel I’ve gotten much better. Feeling calm during such a demanding year is essential. And from my point of view, it’s crucial to go out onto the court smiling, feeling happy. That helps you mentally. For me, it’s everything.”
Alcaraz, who missed the season-ending ATP Finals and last month’s Australian Open due to injury, returned to the tour after more than three months and won the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires last week. He will aim to extend his winning streak at this week’s Rio Open where he is the top seed.