Carlos Alcaraz - Indian Wells 2024

Carlos Alcaraz overcomes ‘a lot of doubt’ to retain Indian Wells title

Carlos Alcaraz has become the first man to defend the Indian Wells singles title since Novak Djokovic in 2016, after beating Daniil Medvedev in the final for a second successive year.

Alcaraz beat Medvedev, 7-6(5) 6-1, with the Spaniard claiming the fifth Masters 1000 title of his young career.

And the 20-year-old described the victory as ‘special’ after the match, “I’m feeling great right now, this tournament means a lot to me. Playing here is so special to me but I think this year is a bit more special because before the tournament I was thinking about whether I could play my best or not.”

It had been far from an ideal preparation for Alcaraz, who sprained his ankle at the Rio Open two weeks prior.

The world No.2 revealed how this setback affected him, “I was not feeling well with my ankle. Weeks before the tournament I was hitting for 30 minutes with no movement, so there was a lot of doubt for me, but I was really happy to be able to overcome those problems and at the end feel better.”

Although Alcaraz beat Medvedev in straight sets once again in the Indian Wells final, the Russian actually lead with an early break in the first set.

This is something that Alcaraz appeared to put down to nerves, “Not just a little bit, there were a lot of nerves. It was difficult to start to the match, I was not feeling good with the ball, and it was a little bit tough for me but anything can happen.

“In three games you can turn it around and start to play better and that’s what I did, I started to calm myself and control my emotions and started to feel better.”

Not only has Alcaraz dealt with injury this year, but also some uncharacteristic defeats and the Murcian spoke in his press conference about how he has found himself again over the past fortnight.

“The last two months were difficult for me to find myself. I didn’t enjoy stepping on the court. I wasn’t myself on the court the last two months, three months, so it was difficult for me,” admitted Alcaraz. “It means a lot to me winning this tournament because I overcame a lot of problems in my head, a lot of problems physically.”

The 20-year-old added, “For me, if I win tournaments or not, I don’t care. It’s about enjoying playing tennis, once I step on the court, putting my game. It’s what only matters. That’s why I’m really happy to lift this trophy because I found myself at this tournament, and I felt good.”

Alcaraz will now head to the Miami Open, in a bid to become only the eighth man to complete the sunshine double in the same year.

Inside the baseline…

Carlos Alcaraz could not have put it any better, it really did seem as though he found himself at Indian Wells. Not only has he made history by defending the title in California, but the 20-year-old has also held off Jannik Sinner to maintain his spot as world No.2 – at least for the time being. With Novak Djokovic withdrawing from the Miami Open, there will be a lot of hype around a potential Alcaraz-Sinner final as the top two seeds.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.