World number one Carlos Alcaraz said Thursday he won’t get ahead of himself as he seeks to defend his title at the US Open, where “all the matches are tough.”
The 20-year-old Spanish star, in an interview with AFP after renewing his contract with French racquet manufacturer Babolat, said he can’t afford to look ahead to a potential title showdown with second-seeded 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic but would “concentrate on the first round.”
“Every slam I go to I try to win it,” said Alcaraz, who will open his title defense against 78th-ranked German Dominik Koepfer.
Alcaraz beat Caspar Ruud in last year’s US Open final to capture his first Grand Slam title and become, at 19, the youngest world number one in the history of the rankings.
“I have very good memories of last year, so let’s go for it,” he said.
Arriving as the top seed — with an epic Wimbledon final triumph over Djokovic also under his belt — is a “different feeling,” Alcaraz admitted, but one he won’t dwell on.
“Mentally, we’re going to try to forget that I’m defending the title, we’re just going to focus match by match, show our best level in each match and see if at the end of it all I play at my best level and can get the second title here,” he said.
“Every player here, every match is tough,” he warned, and “every player can beat you.”
On the court, Alcaraz has emerged as a likely successor to such greats as Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. But he characterizes himself as “a very normal guy, who tries to carry it in the best possible way.
“I always go to the same places, meet the same people and do the same things,” he said. “It doesn’t affect us and we take it very naturally.”
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