Carlos Alcaraz was late to the party this season, having missed the 2023 Australian Open due to injury. However, the young Spaniard has been unstoppable since and is quickly catching up to his peers, featuring in back-to-back finals in South America.
Alcaraz kicked off his 2023 campaign in sensational fashion, lifting his seventh career title at the Argentina Open. The teenager is a match away from defending his title at the Rio Open, which is his staggering 10th career final.
Speaking about putting on a show in Rio, Carlos Alcaraz admitted that the city held a special place in his heart. He credited the abundant fan support in the Brazilian city for bringing out the best in him.
"I have a special affection here in Rio. The public supported me a lot. My moments on the court in Rio were spectacular and today was proof of that," Carlos Alcaraz said after his semifinal match win against Nicolas Jarry.
Alcaraz is already a sporting phenomenon, etching his own legacy with all his glorious achievements at the tender age of 19. The 2022 US Open champion, however, stated that he is unconcerned about filling the Big 3’s shoes after their retirement. He voiced his wish to treat tennis fans to high-quality matches and spread joy on the court by being true to himself.
"I think people want to see joy, incredible shots,” Carlos Alcaraz said, “I don't think about being the player people want to see after the Big 3, I just want to be who I am and transmit joy on the court."
Carlos Alcaraz sets up yet another clash with Cameron Norrie at Rio Open
Through to his second consecutive final of the 2023 season at the Rio Open, defending champion Carlos Alcaraz is set for a clash with second seed Cameron Norrie yet again.
This will be the Spaniard and the Brit’s second encounter in the span of one week, as the duo previously locked horns in another such summit clash at the Argentina Open. Alcaraz managed to outclass the World No. 13 in the encounter, claiming the title with a straight-sets victory of 6-3, 7-5.
Scoring a win over Norrie in the final of the Rio Open will be crucial for the World No. 2, who is on a mission to recapture the World No. 1 ranking, claimed by Novak Djokovic after his Australian Open triumph.
While the 19-year-old will remain in the No. 2 position regardless of the Rio final outcome, the Spaniard’s ranking points will be tied with the Serb if he were to win the tournament.
This will give Alcaraz a chance to potentially overtake Novak Djokovic as early as next week when they contest ATP 500s in Acapulco and Dubai respectively.