Alcaraz On No. 1 Battle: 'Djokovic Is On My Mind In Every Practice'

  • Posted: Oct 05, 2023

Alcaraz On No. 1 Battle: ‘Djokovic Is On My Mind In Every Practice’

Spaniard making Shanghai debut

Carlos Alcaraz arrives at the Rolex Shanghai Masters with Novak Djokovic and World No. 1 on his mind.

The Spaniard is chasing a second consecutive ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone finish and trails the Serbian by 580 points in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. The 20-year-old would leapfrog Djokovic and move into top spot if he reaches the final in Shanghai.

“I think [about Djokovic] almost in every practice, I am not going to lie,” Alcaraz said when asked about catching the 36-year-old. “I train with a goal. I go to the tournaments with a goal. To try to end the year as No. 1. Novak Djokovic is on my mind in almost every practice. I have to practise my best. I have to go for 100 per cent in every ball to be able to catch him.

“He is 100 per cent focused. I watch his practice, his movement and the way he plays and trains and it is something I want. He puts 100 per cent in every practice and game and it is something I am trying in my game.”

Alcaraz, who has lifted six trophies in 2023, is making his debut in Shanghai, having advanced to the semi-finals in Beijing. The top seed is the only player to have earned more than 60 tour-level wins this season, advancing to at least the semi-finals in 12 of the 14 events he has played.

Ahead of his opening match against Gregoire Barrere, Alcaraz discussed the mental challenges of competing at the top level.

“I always say that mentally is the toughest part to practise but at the same time it is the most important thing if you want to be the best in tennis,” Alcaraz said. “I am trying to work in every practice and tournament and learn from the things I was not doing great… I want to be the best so I need to have this mentality to be strong enough to play at the same level and not have ups and downs.”

Alcaraz lost in the semi-finals in Beijing against 22-year-old Jannik Sinner, who went on to win the trophy at the ATP 500. Sinner now leads Alcaraz 4-3 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series and it is a rivalry the Spaniard is relishing.

“We have a good rivalry,” Alcaraz said. “I am a guy who doesn’t want to lose in any match. Against him it is different. I feel a difference. Every time I beat him or lose against him is different. I learn something from every match I play against him.

“It would be great if [the rivalry] was like Rafa and Roger. It would be the dream. For ourselves and the tennis fans.”

Source link