Carlos Alcaraz is gearing up to defend his Madrid Open title, and while he acknowledges that the absence of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic due to injuries makes it a little easier, he does not see himself as a favorite to win.
The two 22-time Grand Slam winners recently withdrew from the competition, dealing a blow to their preparations for the French Open later in May. Alcaraz, who is the world number two and top seed, has just retained the Barcelona Open title by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. He aims to do the same in Madrid, which starts on Wednesday.
Alcaraz stated in a press conference that although the absence of the best players makes it a little easier, all the players at the Madrid Open are very good and have a high level. Each player thinks they can win the title, so he does not feel more confident because of the big pull-outs.
He added that it is unfortunate not to enjoy seeing them live, but it does not make him feel like a favorite or anything. He takes each match as it comes and does not see it as a failure if he does not lift the trophy again.
Alcaraz emphasized that for him, leaving the tournament thinking he has failed would be about the level he has shown or the level of attitude he has displayed. Attitude is the essential thing for him, and if he has played at a good level and has a good attitude, he would not take it as a failure.
The 19-year-old could take the world number one ranking back from Djokovic ahead of the French Open if he wins either in Madrid or Rome and plays at least one match in the other tournament or reaches both finals.
However, he said that getting to number one is an objective, but in terms of the French Open, it does not change much. It would be a good achievement to get back to number one, but it is insignificant for him in terms of Roland Garros.
Alcaraz acknowledges that the absence of Nadal and Djokovic makes it a little easier for him to defend his Madrid Open title, but he does not see himself as a favorite to win. He takes each match as it comes and does not consider it a failure if he does not lift the trophy again. For him, attitude is the essential thing, and he aims to play at a good level while maintaining a positive attitude.