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‘This year I’m playing on the centre court – that’s the only difference’ – Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz on Miami return

Carlos Alcaraz says he has learnt lots since his win in Miami last year

Carlos Alcaraz Mar 24, 2023; Miami, Florida, US; Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) celebrates after match point against Facundo Bagnis (ARG) (not pictured) on day five of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

A lot has happened since Carlos Alcaraz won the title in Miami in 2022 – he’s picked up his first Grand Slam, reached the top of the rankings, and finished the year as world No 1.

But now he’s back as defending champion and he says that he doesn’t feel too different – apart from noticing the court allocations.

“Well, is different to be back here as a defending champion,” he told journalists at his post-match press conference after beating Facundo Bagnis 6-0, 6-2. “Yeah, I think when I [said last year] that I’m ready to win a Grand Slam, yeah, it was not wrong.

“Here I’m going to say the same: so I [am] going to win another Grand Slam. Obviously is great to play here. I would say is no different to play a first round here than last year. I would say the only difference is I play in the centre court and last year I was not. It’s that difference only.”

Alcaraz: I’ve grown up since last year

The 19-year-old added that he felt that he had not changed too much since last year, saying: “I grew up a lot since last year. It has been a great year for me as a player, as a person as well. But, yeah, I learn a lot of things, not only on court, even off the court, as well.”

But he is not thinking about Miami as a tournament he has to win again.

“I always say the same when I come into a tournament: for me is a new tournament. It’s day by day, round by round, try to play my best in every day, try to enjoying in every match, as well.

“That’s the only goal and only thoughts on my mind in every match.”

And he reflected on Andy Murray’s words earlier in the week that it is easier to play with freedom as a teenager.

“I have to take advantage [of] it. I’m young. Well, I’m agree[ing] with what he said. I’m young. I’m not taking care about anything else but playing and enjoy on court. That’s the only thing.

“Probably when you’re older, you think more.”

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