Carlos Alcaraz to CNN: ‘I’m playing unbelievable tennis’
Former world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz is enjoying a much-anticipated second stint in the United States after his countryman Rafael Nadal. “It’s a different ball game here,” he said. “It’s easier to play with the crowd behind you. It’s like I have more energy for the game now.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Carlos Alcaraz, who’s played in four Wimbledon semifinals, is playing far better tennis today than he did at his prime.
He may have lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2012 Australian Open final but he’s feeling stronger and better about his game since his last appearance at Flushing Meadows.
Alcaraz will face American John Isner on Tuesday in the third round of the U.S. Open.
“My body feels good and the confidence is there,” he said. “I’m going to try and go out there and really play and let all the good things come.”
Alcaraz has had a whirlwind career since he last reached the U.S. Open at the age of 19, in 2008.
He was the No. 1-ranked player in the world at the time and had a shot at winning his first major, after being a runner-up at the Australian Open in 2010 with an upset win over Andy Murray.
Alcaraz beat Andre Agassi in a third-round match. He then lost to Roger Federer in the quarters. He took revenge in the semis with a brutal 6-2, 6-3 defeat.
But injuries — he broke his back in an ankle sprain in the 2011 French Open quarterfinals — and a lack of fitness — he had to withdraw from the 2012 Australian Open — caused him to fall short of his goals.
He went on to win the U.S. Open in 2012 and the ATP’s highest ranking, at No. 16, before retiring from the game in 2013.
He was back at the U.S. Open for the first time at the beginning of 2014, though