Sports, Football

‘Dream chaser’ Alcaraz sweeps into French Open second round


By AFP
Published : 23 May 2022 09:19 PM

Teenage Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz said the best part about being touted as the future of Grand Slam tennis was that he is realising a "dream that is not for everyone".

The 19-year-old defeated Argentine lucky loser Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the second round of the French Open on Sunday.

Bidding to become just the eighth teenager to capture a major men's title, he is tipped to end the dominance of 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal and two-time winner Novak Djokovic.

"I would say the best thing about being Carlos right now is that I'm reaching my dream," said Alcaraz, who reached the third round in Paris a year ago on his main-draw debut as a qualifier.

"I'm really happy with playing tennis, playing these kind of tournaments, these kind of stadium, is not for everyone, so I would say that is the best thing."

The sixth seed will play compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas for a place in the last 32.

"I have been watching this tournament many years. It's a unique place to play and I have been dreaming of playing here," said Alcaraz.

He broke Londero in the 10th game of a tight opening set, then ran away with the match by breaking five more times over the next two sets on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Alcaraz, who was ranked 97 this time last year, has won a tour-leading four titles this season, three coming on clay in Rio, Barcelona and Madrid where he defeated Nadal, Djokovic and Alexander Zverev to lift the trophy.

Despite his rapid ascent, Alcaraz is doing his best to focus on the basics and put all the extra attention he is receiving to one side.

"I am trying to be focused just on the tournaments, on the matches," he said.

"(With) everyone talking about you, just focus on what I have to improve, what I have to do on the matches, what I have to do in the every day to be ready in the tournament."