History illuminates Carlos Alcaraz once again, who after sweeping Daniil Medvedev (6-3 and 6-2, in 1h 51m) and conquering Indian Wells for the first time –his third Masters 1000, the eighth title of his career and the second of this course -, he went to the balcony where the champions of the Californian tournament are traditionally portrayed.
There, the new number one in tennis wore a trophy, teeth and thumbs up, posing with the bare mountains in the background and happy for this latest success that he savors, yes, but just enough.
Here there is no truce or rest.
Without delay, the Murcian complied with the rigorous protocol and without time for too many parties he began to concentrate on Miami, an immediate destination and examination.
From coast to coast, Alcaraz cannot get lost in the slightest during the journey:
"Novak is one of the best in the world, so if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best," he pointed out after becoming the youngest tennis player in history on Sunday -19 years and 10 months, compared to the 21 of Russian Marat Safin– to regain the lead on the circuit.
“I really want to play against him again;
We miss him on this tour [the Serb has not been able to enter the United States due to the health regulations against COVID-19] and we hope to have him back soon.
I'm looking forward to playing against him again", stressed the man from El Palmar, who rounded off a "perfect week" and has definitively left that gloomy corner into which he entered against his will in the last five months, dotted with doubts, vertigo Logical of having broken all the forecasts - he is also the earliest ATP king in history -,
Alcaraz celebrates Indian Wells and regains number one
When he conquered his first big one and rose to the top, in September, the boy discovered a new universe as attractive as it was unstable.
The US Open hit was accompanied by more and more flashes and surrounded him with expectations, which until then he had managed to manage in an unusual way.
Without any obligation and with a whole world to discover, the route to the top took place along the strictly positive edge.
Everything was a plus, nothing subtracted.
However, the titles and his extraordinary potential led him towards the sphere of the highest demand.
Examined at every step, the ghosts came.
Specifically, he gave up his first match as a benchmark –against Auger-Aliassime, in the Davis Cup– and then stumbled in the Astana premiere –against David Goffin–, before falling again against the Canadian and retiring in the quarterfinals in Paris -Bercy,
“He has a target on his back.
With the year that he has done, he must realize that he is going to be everyone's goal ”, Jimmy Connors warned him in October, one of those phenomena that he knew how to return to the heights like few others.
The American remained 268 weeks at the helm and Alcaraz has 21, but it is intuited that the figure can skyrocket considerably.
14 wins in a month
“I have had to fight against injuries;
I had two in my legs in four months [plus another in my abdomen] and that's hard.
It was difficult to be mentally strong because I missed several tournaments that I wanted to play [Masters Cup, Davis, Australian Open and Acapulco], but I have worked very hard.
The most important thing is to believe in yourself and in your team ”, he comments now, knowing that he has a great challenge ahead of him and that an army of rivals await him with more enthusiasm, if possible.
To the retention of the throne he adds the desire to join the eight men's players who managed to make the doublet Indian Wells-Miami (
) in the same season;
illustrious names such as Jim Courier (1991), Michael Chang (1992), Pete Sampras (1994), Marcelo Ríos (1998), Andre Agassi (2001), Roger Federer (2005, 2006 and 2017) and Djokovic (2011, 2014,2015 and 2016).
Alcaraz celebrates his victory against Medvedev in the final on Sunday.Matthew Stockman (Getty Images)
Alcaraz gives off confidence – “I learn quickly”, “I feel comfortable” and “I don't doubt my shots”, he says –, he continues to expand despite his young age and these two weeks will once again calibrate his consistency on a terrain that he likes – Marco from the definitive hatching, a year ago– and with the number 1 on the shirt.
“It means a lot to me to get him back.
It was an objective”, he admits and assesses, taking into account that nine of the 28 tennis players who reached the top could not return later, including Nastase, Wilander, Moyà, Kafelnikov, Murray or his own coach, Ferrero.
"But it has been easier because Djokovic is not playing," he qualifies.
"Going to Miami in this position will help me to perform at my best level there," concludes the Murcian, who smiles on the back of a streak of 14 wins in the 15 games he has played in the last month, and who confidently faces the upcoming challenges, prevailing to enjoy: "I feel that I no longer have pressure, I play relaxed".
NADAL LEAVES THE 'TOP-10' AFTER 18 YEARS
While progressively increasing the pace and intensity of training, Rafael Nadal wanted to send a congratulatory message to Carlos Alcaraz.
"Congratulations on returning to number one and for the title", he dedicated to him through social networks precisely the day that he, 36, left the 'top-10' for the first time after 912 weeks installed among the strongest.
They are almost 18 years (17, 10 months and 24 days) that now close, since the Majorcan has fallen with the last update of the list to thirteenth place on the list.
Nadal rose to number seven in the ATP on April 25, 2005, but the injury he suffered in the iliac psoas in January has prevented him from defending the points obtained last year in this range.
The man from Manacor damaged his muscles in the second round of the Australian Open and then was unable to compete in Acapulco, where he also finished champion in 2022;
His loss kept him from Indian Wells, a tournament in which he reached the final, and he will not be parading these days in Miami either.
In principle, and as long as he maintains the evolution, Nadal will reappear in the Monte Carlo arena from April 9.
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