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Carlos Alcaraz on the cover of Vanity Fair: ‘I have to keep working and improving’
The 18-year-old talks pressure, expectations and “the cruel side” of tennis in the pages of Vanity Fair.
Published Jan 19, 2022
WATCH: TenniStory: Carlos Alcaraz
He won his first ATP Tour title at the age of 18, and took home the Next Gen ATP Finals trophy to cap off a breakthrough 2021 season. But for Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz, the biggest goal right now is something much more mundane: getting his driver’s license.
All eyes are on Alcaraz, who is frequently tipped to be fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal’s successor, as he continues to successfully navigate the transition into the pro ranks. The Murcia native has been on song at the Australian Open, his first Grand Slam as a seeded player—and now he’s graced the cover of Vanity Fair in Spain to open up on how he copes with the pressure and deals with the sport’s brutal highs and lows.
“I have to keep working, listening to my team and improving. I have everything I need,” Alcaraz told Vanity Fair’s David Jimenez. “I am not a guy who tends to splurge. The money? Right now I’m not thinking about those things.”
Alcaraz also broke down his daily routine, which includes training for “five or six hours” a day —”and even more when I need to”—at coach Juan Carlos Ferrero’s academy near Alicante, Spain. “I like to train. I enjoy it,” he assures.
He also revealed the “cruel side” of tennis, including his valuable experience after suffering an emotional defeat to Hugo Gaston at the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy last year. With the French crowd loudly on his opponent’s side, Alcaraz buried his head in a towel and let the tears flow as the match slipped away from him.
Alcaraz, who has worked with the same psychologist since his junior days, said that he uses those kinds of experiences to learn how to handle pressure and find emotional balance on court.
"When I don't play brave, I blame it on myself. I say to myself: ‘Why haven't I taken the risk? If I fail, at least I am left with the feeling that I went for it,’” he said.
Click here to view Alcaraz’s cover story and photoshoot in the February 2022 issue of Vanity Fair Espana.