Carlos Alcaraz lost in three sets to Sebastian Korda on Wednesday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, a rare setback for him. The Spanish star, on the other hand, was emphatic that the defeat had nothing to do with expectations. After winning the 2022 Miami Open, all eyes were on the 18-year-old. Prior to the year’s first clay-court ATP Masters 1000 event, Alcaraz stated that he was not physically or mentally exhausted.
“I’m a bit disappointed with myself. I had a lot of chances to be up in the match and close to winning, but these losses sometimes [are] good to live. You have to play matches,” Alcaraz said. “But I didn’t think about the expectations that the people have [for] me. I just focussed on me and what I have to do. But as I said, you have to play more matches on clay courts.”
“I’m ready to [go] back [to] training and focus on the next tournaments,” Alcaraz said. “It [was] a tough match, but I think mentally I’m ready to play these kind of matches, long matches, and tough matches. I mean, mentally and physically, I’m ready,” he added.
The Spaniard also explained that the reason for his below-par performance was due to the sudden transition from hard courts to clay. It is, however, something the youngster will quickly need to adapt to.
“It’s never easy to get used to playing on clay courts. The first match is always tough, even when you are playing against Sebastian, a great player. Today was difficult conditions, the wind and everything,” Alcaraz said. “Now is time to be focussed on the next tournament and keep playing on clay.”
Carlos Alcaraz won the Miami Open on Sunday for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour. The Spaniard won his first ATP Masters 1000 title and third tour-level title in the final at Hard Rock Stadium, defeating sixth seed Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-4. Alcaraz is the youngest Miami men’s champion in the event’s 37-year history, as well as the third-youngest ATP Masters 1000 champion overall, with 283 tournaments under his belt dating back to 1990. He is the first Spanish champion at the tournament, and his victory will propel him to a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 11 in the world.
Only Michael Chang (Toronto 1990) and Rafael Nadal (2005 Monte Carlo) were younger than Alcaraz when they won their first ATP Masters 1000 titles at the age of 18 years and 333 days. Alcaraz took over as the youngest Miami champion from Novak Djokovic, who won in 2007 at the age of 19, when Alcaraz was three years old.