Carlos Alcaraz: I try to make the impossible for the crowd
Carlos Alcaraz has returned to competitive action with a win, beating Richard Gasquet in his first match at the Australian Open in two years.
It was the Spaniard’s first match at the Melbourne major since 2022, before he became a Grand Slam champion for the first time, after missing the tournament last year through injury.
And he spoke of how good it felt to be back, “It’s always great to play here in Australia. This is the third time that I am playing here. I did not have a good run the years that I have played here, but I enjoyed it a lot and I missed it last year.
“Today I felt really good, playing here and I enjoyed in front of the crowd. I tried to get better. I think in the first set I struggled a little bit with his game and Richard was playing great as well. Every set, I played better and better, and in the end I think I played quite a good level.”
Not only is it a return to the Australian Open for Alcaraz, but his win over Gasquet was also his first official match of the year, with the world No.2 opting to skip playing any warm-up events.
The Wimbledon champion suggested that it will take time for him to rediscover full match sharpness when speaking to Eurosport, “I need to get used to the competition again. And it’s not easy to start a tournament, it’s a bit more complicated if I haven’t played since two months ago.”
Good start! ? Very happy! Amazing atmosphere tonight in the Rod Laver Arena! ❤️ Thank you! @AustralianOpen
? Getty pic.twitter.com/fm2faj8XG2
— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) January 16, 2024
Alcaraz has become renowned for some incredible trick shots since becoming a big name on the tour, something that the Murcian revealed he does for the fans.
“I always say that making unbelievable [shots] like drop shots, volleys… I’m playing for myself, but I always try to make the people enjoy watching tennis and watching my game,” Alcaraz revealed in his on court interview after the match.
“It’s another way to do it, hitting some shots that maybe some don’t expect. Sometimes I don’t see the score, and I try to make the impossible for the crowd.”
The 20-year-old added, “I try to smile all the time. Obviously there are times when it’s tough to do [so]. The pressure is there, and in those moments, it’s tough to enjoy playing. But I have my team, and when I’m struggling, I look up to them and they put a smile on my face, trying to bring the joy again. That’s the key of my game, that’s why I’m playing good tennis.”
Alcaraz will continue his Australian Open campaign tomorrow when he plays Lorenzo Sonego, who beat British No.2 Dan Evans in the first round.
You can watch the Australian Open live on Eurosport and Discovery+.
Inside the baseline…
It was a solid start for Carlos Alcaraz against Richard Gasquet in what seems likely to be the Frenchman’s final Australian Open. Alcaraz has no real history at the Grand Slam down under, but has enough pedigree at hard court tournaments to be a real threat to the likes of Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner. That being said, Alcaraz does have a tricky second round match against Lorenzo Sonego, who he lost to in their only previous meeting back in 2021.
READ NEXT: How to watch the Australian Open
Read >> World’s best tennis magazine