June 14, 2024
Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz is presented with the King Felipe Award by the Spanish king.

Thursday was a special day for Carlos Alcaraz in his home nation. The No. 3 in the PIF ATP Rankings received the King Felipe Award, which recognises him as the best Spanish athlete of 2022, from King Felipe VI himself at the Royal Palace in El Pardo.

“We’re surrounded by great athletes in Spain in every field. Three or four years ago I wouldn’t have expected to get this award. I’m very proud of it, it’s really amazing,” the Spaniard said of the accolade.

Carlos Alcaraz was given the award for his spectacular 2022 season, when he won his first Grand Slam at the US Open and became the youngest World No. 1 in PIF ATP Rankings history. That season, the Murcia native claimed five titles in total, including his first ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Miami and Madrid. He ended the year with 57 wins and 13 defeats.

On Friday, Alcaraz will set off for Monaco for the start of the European clay swing in Monte-Carlo. The Spaniard has only played the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters once before (2022), losing to Sebastian Korda in his opener.

“I can’t wait, I’m really excited,” said the two-time reigning Indian Wells champion. “The two most recent tournaments have been really good, both in terms of my level and my state of mind. It was a shame to lose to Dimitrov [in Miami], but I left happy with how I was feeling on court. I’m ready to have another good clay swing.”

On Monday, Jannik Sinner replaced Alcaraz as the No. 2 in the PIF ATP Rankings, leaving Novak Djokovic, the Italian and Alcaraz in the top 3 positions, respectively.

“Djokovic and Sinner play well on any surface. I don’t feel like the favourite at all, despite the good results I’ve had in the clay swing,” Alcaraz said. “They are in very good form, maybe Djokovic a little less, but at the end of the day we’re talking about Novak and he can find his ‘A’ game at any time. I don’t feel like the favourite at all.”

Finally, Alcaraz spoke about his rivalry with Sinner. At the moment, their Lexus ATP Head2Head is a dead heat (4-4), but that is bound to change after more meetings in the coming months.

“We all know about the rivalry Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have had. Let’s hope I can have that amazing rivalry with Jannik,” said the Spaniard. “I hope he pressures me to give 100 per cent and we can both improve.”

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