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Ferrero on Alcaraz: ‘A player’s development should never stop’

  • Posted: Jun 08, 2024

“A player’s development should never stop.”

Those are the words of Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings, holder of 16 tour-level titles (including Roland Garros in 2003) and currently coach to Carlos Alcaraz, who will square off against Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s the Roland Garros final.

“Even the best players in the world have that need to continue working and improving,” explained Ferrero, who watched from the stands Friday as Alcaraz fought off Jannik Sinner in a five-set semi-final. “Otherwise, the monotony and boredom would become too much and you wouldn’t be able to practise with the motivation required to improve.

“It’s true that you don’t have to be as on top of it as when you were 15, 16 or 17. Now he’s a player who’s achieving things and acquiring the necessary experience to realise when he’s failing at something and when he has to improve things… As you build that experience, you just know those things.”

Ferrero began working with Alcaraz when the player was 15, and their relationship continues to thrive six years later. The coach has been alongside the Murcia native throughout his journey to the top, with the pair winning 13 tour-level titles together and climbing to World No. 1. Now, on the brink of Alcaraz’s third major title, the relationship between them is as strong as ever.

“Our relationship is still the same,” said Ferrero. “It’s a very close relationship that can obviously change at different moments during the day. There are times when I’m purely his coach, but at other times I’m his friend.

“It’s true that kids today, as they get older, they find it harder to always say ‘Yes’. It’s a slow process of maturity that will come naturally as the years pass… And at 21, I don’t think anyone has been mature at that age. Obviously, playing tennis you mature a lot earlier, but I think he still has a ways to go because he’s very young.”

Alcaraz is young, but he is surrounded by a great team that has been with him throughout his career, one that does its utmost to ensure everything runs like clockwork around the two-time major champion.

“We have a lot of experience, we know very well what we’re doing and in that regard we all see eye to eye and the relationship has been very good for a long time,” declared Ferrero. “I think that really helps the team to be united and makes things simpler between us when it comes to understanding each other in the way we work.”

On Sunday in Paris, Alcaraz will have another opportunity to keep growing in every sense. Only Zverev now stands between him and the Coupe des Mousquetaires, and everything that comes with it.

Editor’s note: This story was translated from


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Arevalo/Pavic win Roland Garros doubles title, Pavic completes Golden Slam

  • Posted: Jun 08, 2024

Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic won the Roland Garros men’s doubles title on Saturday in just their second major as a team. The Salvadoran-Croatian duo defeated Italians Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori 7-5, 6-3 in the final after knocking out top seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in Friday’s semis.

The 30-year-old Pavic completed the Golden Slam — winning all four majors along with Olympic gold — with the triumph. Pavic joines Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut as the only active men’s players to win all four doubles Grand Slams.

“It feels special,” the Croatian said during an emotional trophy speech. “I want to say a special thanks to Marcelo for bringing me here to the top. He knows how it’s done, a few years ago he won it. First time [at Roland Garros] obviously, so I feel very happy.”

Arevalo, 33, won his lone previous major crown two years ago in Paris alongside Jean-Julien Rojer.

“A lot of emotion,” added the Salvadoran. “I want to thank Mate for trusting me, for believing in me to fight together. Two crazy weeks, a lot of tough matches… We did it together, man. I’m really happy and the second title here feels special.”


The Paris title is the third tour-level crown for the new duo this season after triumphs in Hong Kong and Geneva. Having first teamed up at the start of 2024, they improved to 27-10 as a team this fortnight. The champions lost just one set en route to the title, the opener against Granollers and Zeballos in the semis.

In the final, they converted on all three of their break points while saving six of seven break points against them, according to Infosys Stats. The victory moved Arevalo and Pavic up to second place in the PIF ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, just 50 points behind Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden in first.

Bolelli and Vavassori, who fell to 0-3 against their final opponents this season, have reached the title round at both Grand Slams to start 2024. They are in fourth place in the PIF ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings.


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Alcaraz: 'I want to leave my mark on Roland Garros'

  • Posted: Jun 08, 2024

The first thing Carlos Alcaraz did when leaving the court after more than four hours of tennis was spend 20 minutes on an exercise bike to start his recovery. The second, of course, was to look at his telephone and find mountains of messages congratulating him on his win against Jannik Sinner to progress to his first final at Roland Garros, and his third in a Grand Slam tournament.

When he stopped pedalling, the No. 3 player in the PIF ATP Rankings spent some time switching between cold and hot baths before finally eating something to continue to reset his body after his demanding encounter with the Italian, whom he now leads 5-4 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

Alcaraz then appeared in the press conference room to answer journalists’ questions for almost half an hour, before doing TV interviews and heading to his hotel to rest and start thinking about the last step ahead of him.

“It was a very tough match, but I’m very happy to have come through it and to have learned from the situations I’ve faced so far,” the 21-year-old said. “They’re moments in which I didn’t do well mentally and they took their toll… Today, I changed that. I was positive all the time, I was strong mentally and I didn’t get down at any point. To me, I’m proud to know that I’m not making the same mistakes twice.”


Alcaraz did not directly say so, but his words hinted at a new direction; the semi-final match he lost to Novak Djokovic in 2023, where he was caught off guard by cramp after winning the second set as a result of the stress of the encounter. It is obvious that the Spaniard made a conscious effort to overcome a similar situation one year on from the episode against the Serbian, on the same court and at the same tournament.

“It wasn’t easy playing this match against Jannik,” Alcaraz admitted. “He demands a very high level mentally, physically and in terms of tennis throughout the entire match. Maintaining those three things for four hours is not at all easy. Even less so on clay.

“[There is] a lot of heat, long rallies, shots you have to put a lot of energy into… but in the end you have to deal with those situations and those kinds of moments. It’s what the match required; a change of tactics, of positions. [It was] back and forth, [you have to] work with the tiredness and the cramps of both players or the mental level. I’m very happy to be in the final.”

Alcaraz explained that he did not believe this was “an expected final” for him.

“Sunday will be a really tough match,” Alcaraz said. “I’ll have to fight for it and play very well if I want to win. Today was a great victory, but it wasn’t an expected final for me.”


That final, in any case, will bring back memories for the Spaniard of a tournament that has been very special to him since he was a boy.

“Before I was a professional, I’d only come to Roland Garros once,” Alcaraz recalled. “I experienced this tournament when I was 11 or 12. I came to play an Under-11 or Under-12 tournament that they had on a court by the Eiffel Tower, and it was an amazing moment because I met so many players. I was there with Holger and a lot of other players.

“I would leave school and run home to plug the TV in and watch Roland Garros matches. It’s a very special tournament for me that I’ve been watching since I was little. And it’s a tournament where Spanish players have been very successful. We’re used to Rafa [Nadal], but there were other Spaniards before him that did big things. So I want to leave my mark, add my name to that list.”


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Alcaraz, Zverev expect 'tough battle' for Roland Garros glory

  • Posted: Jun 08, 2024

Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev have made a habit of meeting on the game’s biggest stages, but never has more been on the line than in Sunday’s Roland Garros final. The pair has contested nine previous Lexus ATP Head2Head meetings, with each of the past seven at either a Grand Slam, an ATP Masters 1000 or the Nitto ATP Finals.

The fourth-seeded Zverev is the underdog in the Paris final, but he leads the series 5-4, including recent wins last season in Turin and this year at the Australian Open. Alcaraz has won two of their three clay meetings, winning twice in Madrid but losing in the 2022 Roland Garros quarter-finals.

“We had very tough battles in the past,” Zverev said of the third-seeded Spaniard. “It’s going to be a difficult match. It is a Grand Slam final. If you’re in a Grand Slam final, you deserve to be there. That goes for both of us. I think both of is are expecting a tough battle.”


While both players will be competing in their first Roland Garros title match, both can draw upon a wealth of big-match experience. Alcaraz is 2-0 in major finals (2022 US Open, 2023 Wimbledon) and 5-1 in ATP Masters 1000 finals. Zverev, an Olympic gold medalist, is 2-0 in title matches at the Nitto ATP Finals (2018, 2021) and 6-5 in finals at the Masters 1000s — including a triumph in Rome last month.

“Sascha, he’s playing great tennis on clay,” Alcaraz said before the German’s four-set semi-final victory against Casper Ruud. “Big serve, big shots, really solid. It’s going to be a really interesting final.”

Zverev’s run to the final included an escape from a double break down in the fifth set against 26th seed Tallon Griekspoor in the third round, a comeback from two sets to one down against 13th seed Holger Rune in the fourth round and a fightback from one set down against two-time finalist Ruud in Friday’s semis. Alcaraz cruised into the semis with the loss of just one set, but twice battled back from a set down against Jannik Sinner in a five-set win on Friday.

“It was a really close match,” said the Spaniard, who overcame cramp against the incoming World No. 1. “I think [it was] a really high level of tennis, really high intensity of everything.”


The victory showcased Alcaraz’s growth since physical issues derailed him in last season’s Roland Garros semi-finals against Novak Djokovic: “I’m stronger mentally. I knew how to deal with these situations,” he said of his effort against Sinner.

Zverev also overcame previous semi-final disappointment to reach the championship match. He had reached the last four in each of the past three years at Roland Garros, but suffered deflating losses on each occasion. In 2021, he fell in five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas. In 2022, he suffered a gruesome ankle injury after pushing Rafael Nadal to the limit for two sets. Last year, he exited after losing a 6-0 third set to Ruud.

The 2022 injury, as well as his 2020 US Open final defeat — in which he could not cash in on a dominant start and a two-set lead against Dominic Thiem — stick out in the German’s mind.

“There was one of two ways to come back from two situations. The first was the 2020 final of the US Open and obviously the injury that I had two years ago,” he said. “You either come back stronger and you come back hungrier, you come back wanting to win more, which I feel like I did in 2021… Or you kind of go into yourself. You drop mentally a bit, as well. I’m happy that I was the sort of person that took the first path.”

Now with another chance at Grand Slam glory, Zverev will hope to ride his stellar serving and his rock-solid backhand to the title. After grinding out wins in slow conditions early in the tournament, Zverev won 86 per cent of his first-serve points in the semis, according to Infosys Stats. He hit 19 aces and faced just three break points across four sets.

While Alcaraz’s serve is not as lethal at the German’s, the former No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings has improved his delivery throughout his young career. The kick serve that was so effective against Sinner may inflict less damage on the 6-foot-6 Zverev, but Alcaraz may be more comfortable in the rallies against the German. In particular, Alcaraz’s heavy forehand, which has been jumping in the hotter Paris conditions, could pose problems when directed cross-court at Zverev’s forehand — a bellwether shot for the 27-year-old that has come and gone this fortnight.

Zverev has shown great patience all tournament, both within individual points and in marathon matches. Alcaraz has also displayed good shot tolerance, but has been more eager to attack early in rallies.

The youngest man to reach a Grand Slam final on all three surfaces at 21, the well-rounded Alcaraz will rely on his famous formula — brains, heart and courage — in a bid to join Spanish legends like Rafael Nadal and coach Juan Carlos Ferrero on the list of Roland Garros champions. Zverev is bidding to become the first German man to win the Paris crown in the Open Era.


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Vote: Will Alcaraz or Zverev win the Roland Garros final?

  • Posted: Jun 08, 2024

Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev will meet on Sunday in the Roland Garros final.

Alcaraz is a two-time major champion, having triumphed at the US Open in 2022 and Wimbledon in 2023. Zverev is a two-time Nitto ATP Finals titlist pursuing his maiden Slam trophy.


Who will lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires on Court Philippe-Chatrier? Make your selection below!




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How Alcaraz learned from Djokovic disappointment to defeat Sinner at Roland Garros

  • Posted: Jun 08, 2024

Last season, one of the most highly anticipated matches of the year was the Roland Garros semi-final clash between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard battled to take the second set and level the clash, but cramp prevented him from providing much resistance the rest of the way.

The 21-year-old said after defeating Jannik Sinner in a thrilling five-set semi-final Friday that he again suffered from cramp. But this time, the No. 3 player in the PIF ATP Rankings rallied from two sets to one down to reach his first final at the clay-court major.

“The cramps in this match, it wasn’t as much here as last year. But, yeah, I’m going to say I’m stronger mentally. I knew how to deal with these situations,” Alcaraz said. “I knew that the cramps are going to [go] away if I stay there. I know everything what I have to do [in] the situation. 

“But the cramping, I knew that I had to stay there. I knew that probably I had to make shorter the points. So I knew much better how to do it this year than last year.”

With his victory, Alcaraz became the youngest player to reach a major final on clay, hard and grass. He has already lifted the trophy on hard at the US Open and grass at Wimbledon.

“It’s something great. Breaking new records for me is great, great success for me,” Alcaraz said. “Honestly, before the final it’s something that I really don’t want to think about it, but obviously that means that, as I said, I’m playing good tennis on every surface. That is something that I really wanted to do when I started on the Tour.

“So it’s a great feeling, but right now, I don’t want to think about it.”

Alcaraz revealed that it is unlikely fans will see him spending too much time on the practice court tomorrow if he spends any time there at all.

“Tomorrow I’m going to walk around. I mean, I don’t know if I’m going to go to the court. I have to just be with my team and discuss about tomorrow,” Alcaraz said. “If I’m going to practise, if I’m not going to step here in the club. I’m probably go to somewhere just to have a walk. I don’t know.

“I remember in the US Open final or [at the] US Open, the last three rounds I didn’t practise the day before, so I just walked around and all that stuff, so probably I’m going to do the same.”


The Spanish star will physically and mentally prepare for his championship match on Sunday against Alexander Zverev. Alcaraz is three sets away from claiming his third major trophy.

“I have a special feeling [with] this tournament, because I remember when I finished school I [would be] running to my home just to put the TV on and watch the matches here in the French Open,” Alcaraz recalled. “I watched a lot of matches. Of course Rafa Nadal dominating this tournament for, let’s say, 14, 15 years. It’s something unbelievable. 

“I wanted to put my name on that list of the Spanish players who won this tournament. Not only Rafa. Ferrero, Moya, Costa, a lot of Spanish players, legends from our sport that won this tournament, I really want to put my name on that list, as well.”


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