“An honour to come after Rafa”: Alcaraz’s first reflections after winning Roland-Garros title

The Spaniard said he used to rush home from school to watch Nadal when he was winning in Paris year after year

Laurent Luyat, Patrick Mouratoglou and Carlos Alcaraz, Roland-Garros 2024 | © Tennis Majors / Virginie Bouyer Laurent Luyat, Patrick Mouratoglou and Carlos Alcaraz, Roland-Garros 2024 | © Tennis Majors / Virginie Bouyer

Carlos Alcaraz said he was honoured to be following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal after he won his first French Open title at Roland-Garros on Sunday.

The 21-year-old wrote his name in history by becoming the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces after he beat Alexander Zverev 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 to win in Paris for the first time.

Dream come true for Alcaraz

And for Alcaraz, who as a child, rushed home to watch the 14-time champion Nadal win over and over again, it was a special moment.

“It’s a dream come true,” Alcaraz told France Television moments after the trophy ceremony. “After school I ran to watch the tournament, watching Rafa. I always dreamt to be there myself, all the Spanish players gave this dream.

“It’s so social. Nadal won 14 times here, he lost (only) three matches, all this is incredible. To be in the list myself after Rafa’s name is very important for me. It’s an honour.”

Alcaraz: “I had to fight cramps”

For the second year in a row, the Spaniard battled cramps but showed his maturity as he won the last two sets to clinch victory.

“Ups and downs were both mentally and physically,” he said. “(Being up) 4-0 in the fourth (set) helped me to relax. I became less demanding on myself. Because the fifth was close. And I know that in a fifth there’s no excuse, no right to decline, you have to run after ball.

“I had to fight cramps, it was a hard match to manage. I’m happy to have been strong mentally in this match.”

Asked to explain the importance of “cabeza, corazon, cojones” – head, heart, balls, Alcaraz said he thinks it might be genetic. “They are all important for me,” he said. “These three are the only things that count. It might come from my grandpa. I know he’s at home supporting me. For me it’s wonderful.

“I also have a tattoo and I look at it when a match becomes difficult.”

People in this post

Your comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *