By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, May 26, 2023
Grand Slam Tennis is a learning experience for Carlos Alcaraz.
Entering the ninth major tournament of his career, Alcaraz ranks first at Roland Garros as the top seeded Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.
So what’s the difference between today’s world No. 1 and Alcaraz, who reached the quarter-finals of Roland Garros last June before defeating Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7) in an amazing three hours 18 minutes of fighting?
Although it does not make it into the books, Alcaraz says it is better read this year.
“Well, speaking of tennis, I’d say I’m the same player as last year, the only change I’d say is that I’m more mature,” Alcaraz told Paris media. “I’m mentally better. And I can read what happened on the court better than last year.
“For me it’s really very important and I’d say it’s the most different from last year.”
The current US Open champion will open Roland Garros against the 159th ranked Italian qualifiers Flavio Cobolli.
Alcaraz says it is still adjusting to the new view as the top seed in Paris.
“It’s still crazy for me to see myself in the first seed in a Grand Slam,” said Alcaraz. “But for me, it’s great at the same time. It’s something I’m working on to be there. Yes, I’m really happy to be seeded No. 1 here at Roland Garros.”
Madrid’s Alcaraz champions lead Paris with a 20-2 clay court record after losing to Cameron Norrie in the final in Rio and a shock defeat to 135th ranked Fabian Marozsan in Rome.
In retrospect, this defeat for Rome may have been a blessing in disguise as it gave Alcaraz time to prepare for Roland Garros.
“I spent about five days training at the academy at home, which is very helpful for me because I can take a little break from tournaments, have more intense physical training,” said Alcaraz. “And of course in tennis, which I did this year because I didn’t have more than four days to train, just to play matches and matches, and for me, I have this time to prepare for Roland Garros as well as I’ve done in the past days. It was great”.
Image credit: Getty