#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz has consistently broken records and hit new heights in 2022, with his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami and Top 10 breakthrough two standout moments.

Speaking before his opening singles match at the Mutua Madrid Open Sunday, the 18-year-old revealed that the fundamental factor behind his rapid rise on the ATP Tour has been his mental fortitude.

“”I think that as a player I have grown a lot, [and also] as a person,” Alcaraz said in his pre-tournament press conference. “Last year I came here to live these kinds of matches, to be able to gain some experience, to be able to level myself against the best players in the world. Now I consider myself one of them.

“I would say my fitness has been important but definitely the most important part has been the mental game. I feel I have grown up so much in that part. That is why I am the World No. 9 right now and that is why I am playing at a good level. That is why I have been able to win great matches, so I think [my mentality] is the most important thing.”

Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz arrives in Madrid off the back of capturing his third tour-level title of the season in Barcelona. With the seventh seed now 23-3 on the season and third in the ATP Race To Turin, expectation levels have increased for the teenager.

However, the World No. 9 feels that he can cope with the pressure and is just relishing the opportunity to compete on Spanish soil again this week.

“It’s not easy to play at home. There is a lot of expectation, a lot of people that want to see you doing it well,” Alcaraz said. “But I’m a player that turns things around. I take that as a motivation, as an extra punch, extra help.

“I am really excited to be competing here. It is great to play in Spain in front of my home crowd. I try not to think about the pressure. I just try and think about myself and play my best on court. I am trying to have a great time with the crowd pushing me up. I don’t try and think about the expectations.”

Alcaraz, who faces Nikoloz Basilashvili or Fabio Fognini in his opening singles match, took to court in the doubles earlier on Sunday with countryman Marc Lopez for the first time.

Alcaraz said that he was honoured to partner the 39-year-old, who has won 14 tour-level doubles titles in his career.

“I have known Marc for a long time. It is pretty amazing to play with him,” Alcaraz said following their Match Tie-break win against Lukasz Kubot and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. “I am so proud to share the court with him and learn from him. I thought it was a great match and I enjoyed every single second on court.

“It was his idea. He texted me and he said he was going to play his last tournament here in Madrid. He was real excited to play this doubles with me.”

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