Carlos Alcaraz to CNN: ‘I’m playing unbelievable tennis’
LOS ANGELES — Carlos Alcaraz has his sights set on a victory over Roger Federer in the U.S. Open quarterfinals. But he realizes he’s playing the best tennis he’s ever played.
“I feel like I’m on top of the world now, physically, emotionally. I’m playing unbelievable tennis…. I feel strong,” said Alcaraz. “I feel like I’m playing better tennis than in the last couple years.”
Alcaraz, who has been playing since age 12, is a two-time champion of the Challenger level on the South African circuit (he won Wimbledon twice). He had three-straight finals from 2000-03.
He went through this roller coaster before by winning a career-best No. 1 ranking in June 2002 and went a year without dropping a set until falling to a match point to Fernando Gonzalez in the third round of the U.S. Open.
“I felt like in that third match that my game was back, I had that hunger back,” Alcaraz said. “… I didn’t want to let him have the game. I had to just keep grinding.”
He beat Gonzalez in five sets, then had three straight wins to move into the fourth round before a four-set meltdown.
It was in the last set of the match that Alcaraz felt he needed to change his tennis game to be able to compete with the top players in the world. He had a serve at 1-and-1, but was broken and then called a time-out.
“I made a big error (with a double fault), and then I got a little bit of time. I played my way into the match — to show that I was ready,” Alcaraz said.
There’s something else that Alcaraz is doing.
“I try not to think