Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz. Image Credit: AFP

Achieving his dream of becoming the world no. 1 last year took Carlos Alcaraz by surprise but the Spaniard said he still has room for improvement in his game and other aspects as he gears up to begin his 2023 season at next week’s Argentina Open.

Alcaraz climbed to the top of the ATP rankings in September 2022 after winning his first major title at the U.S. Open and stayed there for 20 weeks before Novak Djokovic took over after winning the Australian Open, which Alcaraz missed with injury.

New goals

“I achieved my dream, my goal, very quickly. Practically in just a year. I dealt with it as naturally as possible,” 19-year-old Alcaraz, who is now world No. 2, told reporters on Saturday.

“After becoming No. 1 I had to set new goals, new things for the long term, to continue to enjoy myself, continue to improve because I’m very young and I have a lot of things to improve.

“I think I can improve everything in terms of my game, fitness and mentality. Little by little, my team will take those small steps to get even better.” Alcaraz said he is motivated by Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Djokovic, who made huge improvements over time after a great start in their early years.

Muscle injury

“Achieving my dream very quickly caught me by surprise, so to speak. Now I’m used to it, I have a goal, I know where I want to get to, what I want to be, and that is the most important thing,” he said.

Having missed the season-opening major in Melbourne due to a right leg muscle injury, Alcaraz will play his first match of 2023 next week in Buenos Aires, facing the winner of the first-round match between Fabio Fognini and Laslo Djere.

It will also be his first tournament since he suffered an oblique tear last November at the Paris Masters.