Carlos Alcaraz ‘not afraid’ to put pressure on himself as he fires French Open warning

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Carlos Alcaraz has declared he is ‘ready to win’ the first Grand Slam of his career ahead of the French Open, which begins next week. Alcaraz has enjoyed a tremendous 2022, with Masters 1000 tournament wins in Madrid and Miami, as well as successes in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

Alcaraz has been heralded as a future Grand Slam champion since he was 11, and he has shone on the ATP tour in 2022, with only Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas picking up more ranking points than the teenager this calendar year.

The Madrid Open was Alcaraz’s fourth title of 2022 – more than any any other player on the ATP tour. The Spaniard’s tally of 28 match wins was also unmatched heading into the Italian Open, which Alcaraz opted to skip in order to prepare himself for Roland Garros – and he believes the time is right to collect his maiden major title.

“I’m not afraid to say, I’m ready to win the Grand Slam,” Alcaraz said. “I feel really good physically, I am mentally ready, I have strength. All the elements I need to win the tournament.

“My dreams and goals are clear, I want to be the best tennis player in the world, regardless of how many tournaments I have won so far and how many I will win, I have not achieved my goal yet. That helps me stay on both feet on the ground and strive for the ultimate goal.”

Alcaraz will face fierce competition from the likes of Djokovic and Nadal, who have each won the title in Paris on multiple occasions. Thirteen-time champion Nadal is trying to manage a chronic foot injury, whereas defending champion Djokovic has found form following his Italian Open triumph. 

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Djokovic previously said there is ‘no doubt’ Alcaraz can win the French Open, while Alexander Zverev labelled the teenager the ‘best player in the world right now’. After losing to Alcaraz in Madrid, Nadal revealed it was the start of the ‘handover’ – and the teenager has welcomed the pressure.

“People are going to think that I’m one of the favourites to win Roland Garros,” Alcaraz said after he thrashed defending champion Zverev to win the Madrid title. “I don’t have it as tension, I have it as a motivation.”

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