At 19 years old, recently completed, it is logical that for Carlos Alcaraz many things are new practically every day. At Roland Garros he accumulates experiences in an excellently directed learning process and in which he collaborates decisively with his hunger for wisdom. On Wednesday he played the longest match of his career: four hours and 34 hours of hard fighting with a compatriot who put him on the ropes, Albert Ramos, who he beat in five sets after lifting a match ball in the fourth. “I take what happened as a lesson. Tennis is about learning from these types of matches, from these situations, and I think that in the future, even tomorrow, it will help me to know what I need to improve”he said at the press conference after his move to a third round in which this Friday (20:45) he faces Sebastian Korda.
Carlitos spoke about what it meant for him to save that match point: “I knew that if I did it, everything was going to change and that I would have opportunities to win the fourth set and go out to the fifth with clear ideas. Álex Corretja told me that these victories are what make you a great man, a great player”, revealed the Murcian, who considers the one against Ramos to be “a great victory”. “Not because losing would have been a stick, but accepting that I wasn’t playing brilliantly and still trying to put the other guy in trouble and win.”
This ability that he has to decipher the enigmas that are presented to him and mentally handle such complicated situations in his budding career is partly innate and partly acquired. There is professional work behind. In his childhood and junior years, he was more impulsive (“I broke a racket,” he confessed”). “As a child, he was an explosive reaction to failures, but now he understands what he has to do. He has been working with a psychologist since November”, his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, told AS in April 2020, in the middle of a break due to the pandemic, shortly after Carlos’ first ATP victory, precisely against Ramos. That specialist is Isabel Balaguer, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Valencia and director of the Sports Psychology Research Unit (UIPD). He has advised Alcaraz for more than two years and has instilled in him a series of routines that he also shares with Ferrero. When he goes to Villena they have sessions and from time to time they contact by phone. She travels a lot to the United States and especially the United Kingdom for work reasons.
One of the routines that Alcaraz practices consists of “managing the breath well.” “I do it to stay calm and not fall apart after making mistakes that hurt or in moments of tension,” Alcaraz explained to this newspaper during the 2021 Australian Open.
Now, more liberated, he can go far at Roland Garros. Korda awaits him, a 21-year-old American and 30th in the world, whom he won in the NextGen Finals and against whom he lost in Monte Carlo. “There it was difficult for me to play on the ground, because I came from the fast track in Miami. I got a lot of positive points from that game in which I was close to winning. I’ll watch it to see what I did wrong.” That said, learning.
Roland Garros ATP Draw Results