Carlos Alcaraz: ‘I try to keep learning, keep adding experiences’

Carlos Alcaraz

Even with a standout year with few losses, Carlos Alcaraz is still learning. He is so quick, and he is super aggressive. Here and there, he can be frustrated. But he is 19-years-old, and when he is on, he can pound the ball.

This season, ranked No. 6, he upset Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic. On Friday, he is back on the clay, after Wimbledon. This week, he is in Hamburg, ready to win another title. So far, he is 23-2 on the red clay, and this season, he won Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Madrid. The teenager is a little bit surprised.

“The truth is that a little, yes,” Carlos Alcaraz said. “I have had surprising results this year, I did not expect to evolve as fast as I did, but I work for it. As I always say, hard work pays off, although in my case it was all a bit quick and surprising. I try to keep learning, keep adding experiences and always try to give my best version in each game. I feel that I play for myself, for my team and my family, I don’t focus on the expectations that people may have. I just push it away.”

On Thursday, he crushed Karen Khachanov 6-0, 6-2 . He punched the ball, side to side. He whacked it, with 21 winners and only seven errors.

“I played unbelievable today, probably one of my best matches this year,” said Alcaraz. “I’m training every day to be solid and at the same time to be aggressive. That is my game.”

The Thiem comeback

Dominic Thiem won the 2020 US Open, but the 26-year-old really got hurt, and he had to stay away when he suffered his right wrist tear in June 2021. He tried a couple times, but he couldn’t play. Finally in April, he was good enough to walk on the court.

The former World No. 3 started playing on the clay, and he was very good, but on the hardcourts, the 28-year-old had to re-think when he hits the ball. He can spin it, and he can mix it up all around. However, when a player returns from a long layoff, they are rarely comfortable. Each week, he remembers. Here, he won it on Friday in Gstaad, Switzerland, and now he has to face the talented Matteo Berrettini.

“Dominic has had an unbelievable career,” Berrettini told the ATP. “He is a Slam champion and he got injured, but he is coming back. I saw some of him today and his level is coming back, so it is going to be a tough match. We always play great matches, so tomorrow will be a good one.”

Yes it will be.

Injury stymies Petkovic

Guess what happened? The veteran Andrea Petkovic won in the first round at the Hamburg European Open, but she said that she hurt her aggravated elbow injury during Wimbledon. And yesterday, she had to retire, after eight games. The 34-year-old did reach the at No. 9 in 2011, but currently, she is No. 67.

“It’s absolute horror. It’s completely gone in some cases, then a ball jumps wrong and the tendon is squeezed and I want to die,” Petkovic said. “It’s a very unpleasant pain, but it doesn’t go away even with rest. If I turn pale or start crying.”

The big-hitting Petkovic still plays a lot, almost every week, even with a bum elbow. The German wants to play, even though her arm can be sore. This year, she upset the two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza.

“But I play well, so it’s something I accept. At some point you have to take things like that with a sense of humor, what else can I do,” she said with a laugh. “If I turn pale or start crying, it’s probably because of that.”