Carlos Alcaraz: “I’m trying to use the pressure in my favor” | ATP Tour

Carlo Alcaraz is ready to accept the newfound pressures that will come his way as he prepares for his second appearance at the Western & Southern Open.

The Spaniard qualified in Cincinnati last season but will start third this week. He has already won four titles this year, including two ATP Masters 1000 triumphs.

“At the moment I take every game as a challenge for me to stay the same as always. I’m world No. 4, one of the favorites to win this tournament, so it’s a bit difficult to deal with the pressure,” Alcaraz said in his pre-tournament press conference on Sunday.

“But I’m training at my best. I train with the goal of improving and trying to produce the game that I produced during the clay court season and in Miami. It’s a challenge for me to be like that.”

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The 19-year-old holds a 42-8 record this season, bolstered by title runs at ATP Masters 1000 events in Miami and Madrid. However, Alcaraz arrives in Ohio after his earliest season finish.

The world No. 4 lost in the second round in Montreal but is looking to bounce back in Cincinnati. He wants to use his defeat against it Thomas Paul as a valuable learning experience.

“I understood everything that happened in Montreal. I couldn’t take the pressure of being one of the favorites to win the tournament or make the rankings I’m on right now. I come here to train and now to show where I am,” said Alcaraz. “The kind of player I am means I try to use the pressure in my favour. I know I’m playing against the best players in the world, so I’ll do my best.”

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Alcaraz feels his success this season, which he described as ‘insane’, has made players raise their level against him. But the 19-year-old sees it positively.

“I take it as a compliment. I think all players push themselves to be better on the pitch against me,” said Alcaraz. “I think if they don’t play aggressively or at a high level it’s going to be a really tough game for them, so I take that as a compliment.”

Alcaraz will face Nikoloz Basilashvili or Mackenzie McDonald in his opening game at the hard court Masters 1000 event. The Spaniard is aiming for a deep run in Cincinnati to bolster his position of second in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

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