Carlos Alcaraz continued his unbeaten run in 2023, with a solid 6-4, 6-4 win over Mateus Alves in the opening-round encounter at the Rio Open on February 22. The victory comes in quick succession following the Spaniard's title-winning run in Argentina.
Alcaraz's injury, however, saw him miss the season's opening Slam of the year. Novak Djokovic, who captured the Australian Open crown, also reclaimed the top spot in the men's singles rankings, dislodging Alcaraz.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Rio Open, Alcaraz hinted at his desire to reclaim the top spot and win a few more Grand Slam titles this season.
Alcaraz conceded that he was feeling a "little pressure" coming off of a career-best 2022 season where he triumphed at the US Open. He was, however, quick to add that he was looking forward to the "beautiful year that awaits."
"Truth is a beautiful year awaits, with beautiful tournaments," Carlos Alcaraz said. "It is true there will be a little pressure to defend important titles. I will have to play at a good level, nut, as I always say, I play every match thinking I have to enjoy it, much beyond the results."
Alcaraz also stated that his focus currently was on finding his consistency. He explained that it is not the easiest to win big after having been away from the competition for months.
"I have to try to win more Grand Slam titles, reclaim te No. 1 position," Carlos Alcaraz said. "That's what I am hoping for this year," he continued. "It is not easy to stop after an entire match and have to start it again the next day, I feel I am doing well after four months injured."
"I had a very good week in Argentina and I am coming here with a lot of confidence," he added.
Carlos Alcaraz to take on Fabio Fognini next in Rio
Carlos Alcaraz is next scheduled to take on a seasoned campaigner in the form of Italy's Fabio Fognini at the Rio Open. The last-16 encounter is the third match scheduled to be played at the Quadra Guga Kuerten Stadium.
Taking on the relatively novice Alves in his first match, Alcaraz did not play his best tennis throughout. The World No. 2 did, however, raise his level at just the right moment to close out a keenly-contested two-set win.