Although the Mutua Madrid Open already started last Thursday, with the first round of the women’s draw, the expectation and the spotlights point directly to the debut this Tuesday of two of the great stars of the Masters 1,000: Novak Djokovic and, above all, Carlos Alcaraz. The Serbian makes his debut in the day session (not before 4:00 p.m., Teledeporte and Movistar) against Gael Monfils, executioner of Carlos Gimeno, while Spanish will be the highlight of the evening programming (around 9:45 p.m.). He will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who eliminated Fabio Fognini this afternoon (7-5 and 6-4). The show starts.
This Monday, a holiday in the capital, Djokovic and Alcaraz shared training from 12:00 on court 7, packed with the public. Those who couldn’t get in crowded the surrounding area, especially on the walkway that crosses above the practice fields. There was good vibes between the number one in the world and the 18-year-old from Murcia, the new idol of the Belgrade son, as he himself confessed. Smiles, some chat and a hug at the end, after the match in which Novak won. “He gave me a good beating…”Alcaraz joked minutes later on the tournament’s Twitch. Despite the comfortable result, Djokovic was not entirely comfortable with his strike, who arrives in Madrid after losing in the final in Belgrade, where he did not play his best tennis. Meanwhile, Carlitos (“when they call me Carlos, I think I’ve done something wrong,” he said) left several trademark blows that raised the stands.
Goran Ivanisevic and Juan Carlos Ferrero, who only met once with the Valencian’s victory at the ATP Finals in 2001 (the year the Croatian won Wimbledon), followed the evolution of their players in the midst of an atmosphere more typical of a end than a rehearsal. The public, very involved in training, applauded the great shots of both players, and at the end of practice he was rewarded, with Alcaraz and Djokovic signing autographs for those present.
“Now I consider myself one of the best in the world”
Alcaraz, who had met several times with Rafa Nadal and once with Roger Federer, three years ago in London, He already has the honor of having trained with the entire ‘Big Three’, since the Serbian was the only one still missing (they had planned to do it this year in Australia, but Novak’s expulsion from the country canceled it). The man from Murcia, who will turn 19 this week, is already a star in Madrid, as was evident yesterday in his doubles match with Marc López and in all of his training sessions. “People have been cheering me on from day one. I feel the affection of the people and I am very grateful to live these moments”Carlos said at a press conference.
And it is that things have changed a lot from one year to another. In 2021, Alcaraz played the Mutua Madrid Open as number 120 in the world. Now, he arrives as the world number 9 and one of the favorites for the final victory. “I think I’m capable of winning any tournament I go to. I have the level and the fitness to do it. I feel confident and I think I can get a good result”, analyzed the Murcian, who confessed to feeling that “He is already one of the best players in the world.” “Now I’m more mature, I approach matches in a different way. I think I can win any kind of match, while last year I had more doubts”, compared an excited Alcaraz to play in Madrid, where he finds “great motivation.”