Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz has big ambitions – and one of those is to be able to emulate some of the game’s greats such as Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal by winning titles immediately after coming back from injury.
The 19-year-old didn’t play a competitive match for more than three months as he recovered from abdominal and hamstring injuries, but returned last month with victory at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires.
His form has continued to look impressive and he’s now reached the semifinals of Indian Wells after beating Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday.
“I look to the big players, [Novak] Djokovic or Rafa [Nadal], when they are coming from an injury and probably they have a great percentage to win the tournament after an injury,” the world No. 2 told reporters Thursday.
“I looked at them a little bit when I was injured, you know, training. They motivated me to play a good game after an injury in the first tournaments.
“I was surprised when I won Buenos Aires, but right now, I’m not surprised at it.”
Alcaraz, who has not dropped a set so far this tournament, will face Italy’s Jannik Sinner on Saturday for a place in the Indian Wells final – an opponent he last beat in the US Open quarterfinals on the way to his maiden grand slam title last year.
If he beats the Italian again, Alcaraz will not only have a shot of winning Indian Wells but will also be one win away from reclaiming the world No.1 spot from Djokovic.
At the age of 19 years and 214 days, the Spaniard became the youngest year-end world No.1 last season before relinquishing the title to Djokovic after the Serb won the Australian Open this year.
Alcaraz, though, is not getting carried away and is just focused on what promises to be a spectacular match against the talented Sinner.
“For the opponent it is really tough to be focused mentally and physically during the whole match,” he said.
“That’s what I love playing against him, that it pushes me to the limit.”