Davis Cup 2022: Spain rides the wave of Carlos Alcaraz | Sports | The USA Print

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Albert, Albert! Is this from here? Which one do we ride?”

On Monday at noon, after meeting his commitments with journalists in a central New York hotel, Carlos Alcaraz was a little confused before getting into the van that took him to the airport, a stopover prior to his return to Spain after two weeks of splendor that have guided him to the top of the circuit. Guided by his agent and with a big player already on the record, the Murcian took a private flight with the rest of the members of his team and went directly to Valencia, where this week he will lead the Spanish team in the group stage of the Cup Davis.

Before and after that last New York frame in Times Square, the tennis player confirmed that his resonance has multiplied and that the possibility of going unnoticed on the streets here or there has vanished. Photos and more photos in Manhattan, also of his landing in Spain and a gigantic canvas in Barcelona – from the sports multinational that sponsors him – to commemorate his rise to the top of the circuit. “Just do it”, reads the slogan. And Alcaraz proceeds, gleaming number one, prepared despite fatigue to lead Spain to the final phase of the Davis Cup (from November 23 to 27) and enthusiastic about his new condition: “I’m not afraid of the moment.”

“All this has come very soon,” he recalls, aware that beyond the moment and the definitive explosion, curves will come ahead. That is, he is no longer seen as just the guy or the talent, but he carries the 1 behind your back and, in parallel, everything that this means: pressure, responsibility and extra demands. “The season is not over yet, so we have to keep pushing. He can’t get lost, there is still competition and he has to keep going for it ”, transmits a member of his team, while in Valencia he has been received with open arms: Spain boasts of being a star.

“We knew that this was going to happen sooner or later,” the captain, Sergi Bruguera, conceded on Tuesday. “But it’s still amazing. he made a match [en la final contra Casper Ruud] tremendous physically and mentally. Let’s hope he recovers as soon as possible and can join us here,” said the coach, who is fully counting on him for this week’s games against Serbia (today), Canada (Friday) and Sunday (South Korea). The Spanish team aspires in La Fonteta to achieve one of the two tickets awarded by each group to access the final phase, which will be played at the end of the course in Malaga.

Ferrero, 2003, the throne and the Davis

“We’ll see how he is, the sooner he’s ready to play, the better,” says Bruguera. But, despite the accumulated effort and fatigue, Alcaraz clings to his age and to his hard work to take a step forward. In case there was any doubt, he anticipates: “If I’m here it’s to play and do my bit. I am very proud to come here as number one. Lifting the Davis is another of the dreams I’ve always had”.

Alcaraz made his debut in February in the team, during the qualifying match against Romania that took place in Puente Romano (Marbella). Then would come the titles of Rio, Miami, Barcelona, ​​Madrid and New York, and in parallel the summit. The current circumstance also refers to the enthronement of his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero. The Valencian (42 years old) achieved number one for the first and only time in September 2003, also in New York, before going to compete with Spain in the Davis Cup against Argentina. In the semi-final tie he beat Gastón Gaudio in the opening and lost in the fourth match against Agustín Calleri.

Carlos Alcaraz, this Tuesday upon his arrival in Valencia.
Carlos Alcaraz, this Tuesday upon his arrival in Valencia.Robert Solsona (Europa Press)

“I think what I experienced can help him,” says the coach. “He went through a very similar situation, so I take note of everything he transmits to me,” says Alcaraz, stiletto of a week of competition in which Bruguera has completed the list with Roberto Bautista (21st in the world), Albert Ramos ( 40th), Pedro Martínez (67th) and Marcel Granollers (12th in doubles). Spain is framed in Group B and the appointment will lack the incentive of Novak Djokovic, who has finally prioritized the wedding of his brother Djordje in Belgrade, and also that of Alexander Zverev, who has suffered from the long-term injury he suffered at Roland Garros.

“We were surprised that the track [superficie rápida] is very slow, there will be games with many exchanges. It will be very difficult to win the points. We will have to work more and there will be quite a battle”, warns Bruguera. “Beyond youth or experience, the important thing is that the players are fit and have character. And he is spectacular. It is a luxury that he is here with us”, continues the coach, delighted with the situation: with the 1 behind, Alcaraz.

THIS IS THE GROUP PHASE OF THE DAVIS

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The group stage of the Davis Cup is played in four bands, in four different venues and with 16 teams in contention. The best two from each group will qualify for the outcome of the tournament, which will take place at the Martín Martena pavilion in Málaga in November.

Group A (Bologna): Argentina, Croatia, Italy and Sweden.

B Group (Valencia): Spain, Serbia, South Korea and Canada.

Group C (Hamburg): Belgium, France, Germany and Australia.

Group D (Glasgow): Great Britain, the Netherlands, Kazakhstan and the United States.

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