Indian Wells: Alcaraz and the mobile phone, the blessed mobile phone | Tennis | Sports

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Villena, Alicante. Autumn 2020. On the roof of the building that houses the offices of Juan Carlos Ferrero’s academy, a 17-year-old tennis player who is said to be going to take on the world expresses himself with a marked Murcian accent and also with some fear of not screw up, given that he is granting one of his first in-depth interviews to tell the world that he dreams and works every day to become number one. Alcaraz, more Carlitos than Carlos, says that he is not too aware of everything that is written about him, so as not to create “a ball of negativity” in the face of the great expectations that his progress raises, and at some point in the meeting he responds with the naivety typical of a boy his age.

— Carlos, in what aspects do you need to improve the most?

— Well… I would say that especially with the cell phone thing, because I’m a little hooked. Oops! Maybe she shouldn’t have said this, right?

At that time, the current number two in the world—two majors already in his pocket and the great summit trodden, then mission accomplished—already let it slip that one of his downfalls was the telephone, a common enemy of the new generations of tennis players who grow up among the restrictions imposed on them by a sport as sacrificed as theirs and the technological habits of Generation Z. He, like so many others, was exposed to a new reality that was complex and difficult to control, while new professionals accessed the elite circuit. with a racket in one hand and a cell phone in the other. There is no exception in his case. The device and, therefore, social networks, are an extension of an international figure that is gaining more and more body, followed by 4.6 million followers on Instagram and claimed everywhere he steps. Are you single? Are you single? (Are you single?)”, a fan in full training in Indian Wells insisted on asking him these days, where on Sunday, after a recital, Alcaraz lifted his second trophy in the Californian desert after beating the Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Alcaraz is preparing to serve during the final.Ryan Sun (AP)

Despite his young age, the tennis player is already rich and famous, and continues to learn to function in an atmosphere that, in addition to being attractive and pleasant, is also complicated. After winning his last title and thus ending a period of eight months without success, Alcaraz was honest: “Let’s say that in the last two months it has been difficult to find myself. After Wimbledon (where he won, in July) it was difficult. My family, my team and those closest to me asked me what was wrong with me, why I wasn’t smiling as much as before. I didn’t enjoy going out on the track. If I win titles or not, it doesn’t matter to me; What I want is to enjoy playing and demonstrate my game. “That’s the only thing that matters, and that’s what makes me so happy to lift this trophy, because I’ve found myself again.”

He linked the reflection with the one offered a few days before, when he admitted that social networks are taking their toll on him at times. “They have a very important impact on tennis players and athletes, in general. There are many players who do not think about them or who are not negatively affected by them, but there are others who are affected in a very bad way by negative comments. I try not to think about any of that; I try not to see all the comments, but I think it’s something we can’t hide from. There are many people who are going to tell you nice and positive things, and others are going to tell you bad things, and we are not in a position to be able to control that. We just have to deal with it in the best way possible, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”

Alcaraz takes a selfie with fans in Las Vegas on March 3.
Alcaraz takes a selfie with fans in Las Vegas on March 3.David Becker (Netflix/Getty Images)

For the first time, Alcaraz has had to go through a crisis of professional importance, greater than the unpleasant chapter of injuries he experienced last year. Not so much because of the line of results, because at no time has he stopped believing in himself and his possibilities, but because of the criticism from the outside – founded in some cases, absurd or trivial from some forums – and because of that spiral of negativity that It focuses on cyberspace. Despite being warned of the dangers of exposure and the permanent demand for heights, the tennis player – 13 titles, now five Masters 1000 – does not fully understand that his dynamics of recent times are affected or that he is required to win by system, because otherwise the word failure appears there. Immersed in the process of maturation and development, of discovery, the Murcian digests, processes and, above all, learns.

“He is 20 years old,” they emphasize from his circle. And in the face of the swell, Alcaraz has reacted this season with greater thoroughness on a day-to-day basis, trusting that sooner or later his game and his edge would rebound; aware, at the same time, that tennis is an endless long-distance race and that inspiration comes and goes throughout the year. Eager to offer a performance that is as linear as possible from beginning to end of the course, a pending subject, he performs with the same faith and conviction as always. “Since December he has taken a leap in professionalism,” his academy guru, Antonio Martínez Cascales, recently told this newspaper. Meanwhile, to overcome this period of curveballs he has had the support of the team and his family, none as present as that of his father Carlos, fundamental support wherever he goes.

The parent de-dramatizes and prioritizes his son’s happiness, regardless of how far he can go and where he is in the history of tennis. Meanwhile, the joy of California is comforting and the boy once again triumphs and celebrates: he wins more or less, there is Alcaraz for a while.

NO RUE: HEADING TO MIAMI

A.C.

After achieving his fifth Masters 1000 – the same record as stars such as Becker, Courier, Ríos, Kuerten, Safin, Roddick or Zverev – and having defeated Jannik Sinner in the semifinals, the Spanish tennis player has not only set an income of 495 points compared to the Italian, but he has managed not to lose the wheel of Novak Djokovic, 920 ahead.

The Serbian announced that he will not compete soon in the Miami Masters (from the 19th to the 31st of this month), where he did not participate a year ago, while Alcaraz will defend the 360 ​​points obtained by the 2023 semifinals and could achieve a haul of 640 to tighten the fence.

Sinner, for his part, was a finalist and must once again play a good role to continue stalking Alcaraz’s second place in the ranking. The one from San Candido, on the other hand, could score a juicy number of points in the dirt tour, where he did not have good results.

According to the draw made this Monday, Alcaraz would not face him or Medvedev until a hypothetical final. In principle, the Murcian will debut in Miami on Friday or Saturday, against the winner of the match between Roberto Carballés (64th) and Alexander Vukic (65th). Due to his theoretical layout, dangers do appear such as Ben Shelton (16th), Lorenzo Musetti (23rd), Grigor Dimitrov (11th) and Hubert Hurkacz (8th).

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