Red-hot Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz earned his 10th consecutive win Sunday to capture the Mutua Madrid Open title.
The 19-year-old overcame top four stars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev en route to his second ATP Masters 1000 crown. Titles in Barcelona and Madrid represent a stunning response from Alcaraz, who, after winning in Miami, faced question marks following his opening-round defeat at the first clay-court ATP Masters 1000 of the season in Monte Carlo.
Alcaraz revealed that he feels his defeat against American Sebastian Korda in the Principality was pivotal, helping him raise his game further.
“I consider myself a player that’s playing very well. As the numbers speak by themselves, I think that I’m doing it quite well on clay right now,” Alcaraz said following his final win in Madrid.
“As I said in Monte-Carlo, you learn a lot from defeats. I think this is a clear example. I lost in the first round of Monte Carlo, and I learned from that defeat and I started to train for Barcelona and Madrid. I consider that I am playing very, very well, and I think that I am a tough opponent for the other players.”
Alcaraz Topples Zverev For Madrid Title
Just 12 months ago, Alcaraz was No. 120 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and won just three games against Nadal in the second round in Madrid. On Monday he will rise to a career-high No. 6 after he became the first player since David Nalbandian in Madrid in 2007 to defeat three top four players at a Masters 1000 event.
However, despite his success, the 2022 Tour-leading four-time titlist is still aiming for further improvement.
“I think that I have to improve everything still. I have always said that you can improve everything. You never reach a limit,” Alcaraz said. “Look at Rafa, Djokovic, [Roger] Federer, all of them improve and they have things to improve. That’s why they are so good, and that’s why they are so much [of the] time up there, because they don’t stop. They keep on working and improving.
“That’s what I want to do. I want to keep on progressing. I have really good shots. I don’t say that I don’t have them, but I know that I can improve them and they can be even better.”
By triumphing on home soil in Madrid, Alcaraz has completed a dream journey from fan to champion, having watched the event as a child. The 19-year-old shed a smile as he reflected on his achievement and personal history with the event.
“I remember the first time when I was playing, when I was small in Murcia, I didn’t imagine at that moment that I was going to be able to reach this level, to be here right now, champion of the Mutua Madrid Open,” Alcaraz said. “I remember that my life was to compete back in the day. I liked to train a lot, and I am still a kid that likes to compete more than to train.
“For me to celebrate this title, which is very special, with my family, with my cousins, uncles, grandparents, all my family in general, it’s very, very special.”