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Alcaraz: ‘It doesn’t matter what I’ve achieved if I now stand still’

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2024

Dressed in an elegant black suit, Carlos Alcaraz was back at Roland Garros on Monday to have his photo taken with the Coupe des Mousquetaires before leaving for a three-day holiday to disconnect after claiming his third major title in Paris.

Before boarding a plane to forget about tennis, for 72 hours at least, the Spaniard spent almost half an hour with all the Spanish journalists who accompanied him throughout the historic tournament, speaking to them about his achievement, the ghosts of his forearm injury and the process of maturity he is currently going through.

“Yesterday, I celebrated with my family, with the people that came from Murcia, with my friends,” said the No. 2 in the PIF ATP Rankings of his Sunday night. “We went out to dinner and obviously I did everything I haven’t been doing during the tournament and ate what I hadn’t been eating. I’m normally careful with gluten, but I took my foot off the pedal and let myself go a little bit. Also, we had to celebrate with champagne, the time was right.

“Then I left early and that was it. Today I’m on cloud nine.”

The Murcia native emphasised the importance of enjoying these moments.

“After all the work, all the sacrifice to win a trophy like that, you have to enjoy it a bit. It’s something I’m learning, even though I’m still 21 and I’m still getting to know myself: what I need, what I don’t need, how to do it, how not to do it,” he explained. “I’m realising that you have to balance the days of working hard and suffering with days of rest and the freedom to do what you want, to not feel like a tennis player, just a normal guy. That helps you isolate yourself and wake up with a clear head to go out onto court and give 100 per cent.”

To get to that ‘cloud’, to enjoy the moment by celebrating with his loved ones, Alcaraz had to endure some extremely difficult months that were replete with pitfalls and mishaps.

At the start of the European clay season, when he was in Monte-Carlo preparing for his opener at the tournament, the Spaniard announced his withdrawal from the third ATP Masters 1000 event of the season as the result of a problem with his right forearm, which meant he was unable to defend his title in Barcelona, too. Despite playing in Madrid, where he was also the defending champion, he bowed out to Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals and the pain came back, forcing him to miss Rome and putting his preparations for Roland Garros in jeopardy.

“I’m someone who’s more likely to cry from frustration than from happiness,” admitted the 21-year-old. “I don’t cry much, but I did with the injury a couple of times when I had to miss certain tournaments I was really excited about.

“Mentally it was distressing. You use your right arm for everything. I use a lot of speed and power in every shot and my forearm really suffers. I was worried, thinking that I might not recover 100 per cent. In Madrid I played four matches and it bothered me in the fourth. I couldn’t go to Rome. We did tests and everything necessary to arrive here in the best shape, but my head kept asking questions.”

<img src=”/-/media/images/news/2024/06/09/18/40/alcaraz-roland-garros-2024-trophy.jpg” style=”width:100%;” alt=”Carlos Alcaraz” />
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
After pulling out of Rome, he didn’t pick up a racquet for a few days. Alcaraz then embarked on a training plan with his team to try and get ready for the first day of Roland Garros. Given Sunday’s result, it is fair to say the plan worked.

“I was a little uncertain about how my arm would react at a Grand Slam, the best of five sets,” he said. “It was tough, but as the rounds went by I was feeling good, no pain, even though I was cautious.

“The day of the semi-finals was when I decided to throw caution to the wind when hitting my forehand. I said, ‘If I hurt myself, if it’s painful, then let it be here.’ It wasn’t the time to be scared and I had to trust all the work we’d done and forget about that.”

It was all that work, carried out before and during the Roland Garros fortnight, that allowed the player from Murcia to achieve another dream and experience something special and inimitable.

“I also watch the videos of when I was little and I was in Paris under the Eiffel Tower, following Roland Garros,” revealed Alcaraz. “Lifting this cup some time afterwards… they’re amazing moments. I’m living a dream. Roland Garros is very special for me because it was the tournament I followed when I was little. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive so that I could sit in front of the TV and watch all the matches, and now…”


Becoming the youngest player to win three majors on the three surfaces (hard, grass and clay) has led to more comparisons with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the three players who tore up the record books for almost two decades.

“I’ve seen videos, but with a few highlights I can’t compare myself to what they were like at my age,” reasoned Alcaraz. “In the end, as I’ve always said, it doesn’t matter what I’ve achieved at this age if I now stand still. I want to continue my career, I want to keep growing and get to where Djokovic, Rafa and Federer are… the greats, the geniuses, they kept improving until they were 37 or 38.

“Staying at the very top for 16 or 17 years, fighting for big titles season after season, dealing with the pressure, with injuries, with everything, that’s extraordinary and very few can do it… So I think it’s mental strength and my head that will allow me to belong to that conversation in the future.”

Mental strength without a doubt, is one of Alcaraz’s greatest victories at this Roland Garros. While in 2023 he bowed out in the semis after losing to Djokovic, suffering from cramps mid-match due to the pressure, this year he has learned to handle that pressure, as evidenced by his wins over Jannik Sinner and Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and final, seeing off both opponents in five sets.

“Last year I clearly failed that exam, but this time we’d done our homework,” declared the Spaniard. “This year I managed to do much better. I think I passed the exam, but not with flying colours. It’s something I have to keep improving and as the years go by, I’ll feel even better.”

After returning from his mini-break, which starts this afternoon, Alcaraz will start to practise on grass for Queen’s Club and Wimbledon (he is the defending champion at both) and then he will be back on the clay with his sights set on the Olympic Games in Paris, where as well as playing in the singles, he will form a duo with Nadal in the doubles. The question, then, is obvious: would he prefer to successfully defend his Wimbledon title or claim an Olympic gold in Paris?

“The Olympic Games are every four years and it’s a special tournament where you’re not only playing for yourself, but for a country, representing every Spaniard,” came Alcaraz’s reply. “I think this year I’d choose Olympic gold.”

The newly crowned Roland Garros champion is already thinking about his return to the scene of Sunday’s triumph.


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Federer's Dartmouth commencement speech: 'Dr. Roger' explains why 'effortless' is a myth

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2024

All eyes were on Roland Garros Sunday for the final of the clay-court major between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev. But on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Roger Federer was serving aces of his own.

The former No. 1 player in the PIF ATP Rankings delivered a memorable commencement speech to 11,000 people in person and thousands more virtually. The Swiss icon was awarded with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

“Really, you have no idea how excited I am. Keep in mind, this is literally the second time I have ever set foot on a college campus. Second time ever.
But for some reason, you are giving me a doctorate degree,” Federer said, cracking a laugh. “I just came here to give a speech, but I get to go home as ‘Dr. Roger’. That’s a pretty nice bonus.

“‘Dr. Roger’. This has to be my most unexpected victory ever!”

Federer spoke about his friendship with agent and business partner Tony Godsick, a Dartmouth alumnus, who was in attendance to watch his daughter, Isabella Godsick, graduate. The 103-time tour-level titlist shared three key lessons:

– “Effortless” is a myth.

– It’s only a point.

– Life is bigger than the court.


Federer also addressed the idea of retirement, a word he is not too fond of. He viewed his retirement as graduation from tennis.

“So what do I do with my time? I’m a dad first, so, I guess, I drive my kids to school? Play chess online against strangers? Vacuum the house?” Federer said. “No, in truth, I’m loving the life of a tennis graduate.” 

The 42-year-old discussed his philanthropic work and much more, even taking time to briefly provide technical advice.

“President Beilock, can I have my racquet real quick? Okay, so, for your forehand, you’ll want to use an eastern grip. Keep your knuckles apart a little bit. Obviously, you don’t want to squeeze the grip too hard,” Federer said. “Switching from forehand to backhand should be easy… Also, remember it all starts with the footwork, and the take-back is as important as the follow-through. No, this is not a metaphor! It’s just good technique.”

Federer embraced the opportunity and made clear how important it was to him.

“If you are ever in Switzerland, or anywhere else in the world, and you see me on the street… even 20 or 30 years from now… whether I have gray hair or no hair… I want you to stop me and say… ‘I was there that day on the Green. I’m a member of your class… the Class of 2024’,” Federer said. “I will never forget this day, and I know you won’t either.”

In closing, the former World No. 1 said: “Whatever game you choose, give it your best. Go for your shots. Play free. Try everything. And most of all, be kind to one another… and have fun out there.”


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Nardi beats Goffin on Tour grass debut in ‘s-Hertogenbosch

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2024

Luca Nardi’s tour-level debut on grass proved to be worth the wait on Monday at the Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

After rain forced the start of the Day 1 schedule at the ATP 250 to be delayed until 3:30 p.m., the Italian downed two-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist David Goffin 7-5, 7-5 in an absorbing first-round clash. Nardi handled the blustery and damp conditions well on the Dutch grass, wrapping his victory against the former World No. 7 in two hours and five minutes.

“For sure, the biggest challenge for me was to adapt on grass, because I didn’t play too many matches on grass,” said Nardi in his on-court interview. “This was maybe my second or third match [overall]. Playing in these conditions, with the wind and the cold and a bit wet on the ground [was difficult], but I think that I played a good match and I am very happy.”


Nardi kept his cool under pressure to save seven of 10 break points he faced against Goffin, according to Infosys ATP Stats. With his win, he avenged his 2023 loss to Goffin on home soil in Rome and drew level at 1-1 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

A competitor at the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF, Nardi will take on seventh seed Sebastian Korda or qualifier Tristan Schoolkate next in the Netherlands. The 20-year-old, who upset then-World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Indian Wells in March, is now 4-5 for the season at tour-level.


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Draper earns first grass-court win of season in Stuttgart

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2024

Jack Draper made a winning return to grass on Monday at the BOSS OPEN in Stuttgart, where he defeated Sebastian Ofner 7-6(4), 7-6(5) to earn his first tour-level victory on the surface outside of Great Britain.

The 22-year-old missed the grass swing last season due to injury but has performed impressively on the surface in the past, reaching the semi-finals at the ATP 250 event in Eastbourne in 2022.


Draper looked comfortable against Ofner in the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting, rallying from a break down in the second set to advance after one hour and 40 minutes. The lefty will next face former No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings Andy Murray or American Marcos Giron.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Draper said. “I thought we both played clean tennis, both of us were executing really well. When it came down to it I think I competed really well and I am glad to get over the line. It is good to be back on grass as well.”

In other action, Germany’s Dominik Koepfer clawed past Chinese star Zhang Zhizhen 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(6). The home favourite saved two match points in the third-set tie-break before eventually advancing on his first match point after two hours and 37 minutes. It is the first time Koepfer has won a tour-level match on grass since 2021, when he beat Soonwoo Kwon in the second round at Wimbledon.

Koepfer, who is making his second appearance in Stuttgart, will next meet fifth seed Lorenzo Musetti or French wild card Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard.

In an-all German clash, Yannick Hanfmann defeated wild card Henri Squire 6-3, 6-3. Hanfmann did not face a break point according to Infosys ATP Stats to advance after 63 minutes. The 32-year-old next plays defending champion Frances Tiafoe.

Day 1 of main-draw action was rounded out with a maiden tour-level grass win for Hamad Medjedovic. The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF champion rallied past Fabian Marozsan 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-4 on his Stuttgart debut. His next opponent in Germany will be third seed Alexander Bublik.

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Jannik Sinner reaches No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings, becomes first Italian to top the sport

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2024

Jannik Sinner has today become the No. 1 player in the PIF ATP Rankings. He is the first Italian man or woman to reach World No. 1 in singles since computerised rankings were introduced in 1973.

The 22-year-old began the year at World No. 4. But with a remarkable surge to start 2024, highlighted by his first major title at the Australian Open, an ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami and semi-finals at Indian Wells, Monte-Carlo and Roland Garros, Sinner is now the 29th player to stand at the summit of men’s professional tennis.

“It represents a great result of work ethic. It was one of my goals for myself and my team this year. The most important goal is always to improve as a player and as a person, surrounding myself with great people. I think I can be very happy and pleased with what I am doing as well as my team”, Sinner said. “In the last period I’ve played some really good tennis. I’m very happy to be in this position.”

Read’s Number Ones Series

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “Jannik’s rise to World No. 1 has been nothing short of remarkable. This is our sport’s most challenging and impressive accomplishment, requiring immense dedication, determination and self-belief. It’s reflected by the exclusive list of tennis greats who have held the top spot, with Jannik becoming only the 29th player to achieve the No. 1 ranking in over 50 years of history. Jannik can be immensely proud of everything he has accomplished. On behalf of the ATP, we are thrilled to join his many fans in celebrating this moment. At just 22 years old, he has an incredible road ahead. It will be fascinating to watch his journey continue.”

Sinner first entered the PIF ATP Rankings on 12 February 2018 aged 16 and less than two years later, on 28 October 2019, he cracked the world’s Top 100. Shortly thereafter, the Italian won the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF at just 18 years of age.

Over the past 52 weeks, during which Sinner has earned the points that helped him to World No. 1, he has tallied a 15-4 record against Top 10 opponents. Nine of his victories during that stretch have come against current or former World No. 1s: Novak Djokovic (3), Carlos Alcaraz (1) and Daniil Medvedev (5).

Entering last August’s National Bank Open presented by Rogers, Sinner had never lifted an ATP Masters 1000 or major trophy. Since then he has claimed six titles, including Masters 1000 triumphs in Toronto and Miami, as well as his maiden Grand Slam victory at Melbourne Park. His other crowns came at ATP 500 events: Beijing, Vienna and Rotterdam.


One of Sinner’s biggest highlights came at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals, where he competed for the second time. The Italian won his group with an undefeated record before defeating Medvedev to reach the championship match. His run further boosted his stardom both at home and around the globe.

Immediately following that run, Sinner led Italy to Davis Cup glory for the first time since 1976. It was just the country’s second victory in the event.

Sinner’s rise to No.1 brings Djokovic’s current stint at the top to a close. The Serbian has spent a record 428 total weeks at No.1 to date. Sinner joins a list of six active players who have ascended to World No. 1: Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Medvedev and Alcaraz.


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Sinner is No. 29! Meet the World No. 1s

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2024

Jannik Sinner is the 29th player to reach World No. 1 in the history of the PIF ATP Rankings.

Ilie Nastase was the first in 1973 and, 51 years later, Sinner has joined the elite group, becoming the first Italian to accomplish the feat. is celebrating Sinner’s ascent to No. 1 with a series of profiles of all 29 legends who have climbed to the pinnacle of mens’ tennis.


Jannik Sinner: The flying fox who climbed to the very top

All smiles: Carlos Alcaraz’s joyful game carried him to No. 1

Daniil Medvedev: No. 1, One of a kind

Andy Murray: The man who ended the Big Three’s No. 1 reign

Novak Djokovic: The complete player

Rafael Nadal: The ultimate competitor

Federer On No. 1: ‘I decided I would like to stay there’

Andy Roddick: The competitive rocket

Juan Carlos Ferrero: The humble mosquito

Lleyton Hewitt: Intense Aussie reached pinnacle at 20

Guga On No. 1: ‘Highlight of my career by far’

Marat Safin: The man of fire

Patrick Rafter: When nice guys finish first

Yevgeny Kafelnikov: The poker-faced workhorse

Carlos Moya: A Spanish pioneer

Marcelo Rios: The first South American No. 1

Thomas Muster: Tragedy to top spot

Andre Agassi: From rebel to philosopher

Pete Sampras: ‘I let my racquet do the talking’

Jim Courier: ‘You have to be extreme to be exceptional’

Boris Becker: From Wunderkind to World No. 1

Stefan Edberg: The No. 1 with grit & grace

Mats Wilander: ‘Every ball comes back’

Ivan Lendl: The monk in the iron mask

John McEnroe: An artist at No. 1

Bjorn Borg: The Ice Man & Elvis, all in one

Connors on No.1: ‘A lonely spot, but it has the best view’

John Newcombe: The man behind the mustache

Ilie Nastase, The first No. 1


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