Carlos Alcaraz has wise words ahead of French Open final showdown

Alcaraz will be trying to win his first French Open title, but he has the correct mental approach heading into his match against Alexander Zverev.
Carlos Alcaraz at the French Open
Carlos Alcaraz at the French Open / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Carlos Alcaraz versus Alexander Zverev should be fun. Both players earned their way into the French Open final. Alcaraz defeated soon-to-be ATP No. 1 Jannik Sinner in the semifinals at Roland Garros, while Zverev dispatched 2023 finalist Casper Ruud in his semi. If Alcaraz wins, he will move up to No. 2. Zverev won the Italian Open in a lead-up to the French Open.

Last year, Alcaraz reached the semis as well before he lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. In that match, Alcaraz cramped up badly with a lot of the blame going to his inexperience and how well to hydrate before and during a match. Against Sinner this year, the Italian had cramping issues.

In his post-match press conference, the Spaniard also said he began to cramp a bit in the third round, but it was his failure in last year's semifinals that helped push him through this year. Without having gone through the struggle, he would not have the wisdom of potential success. He still needs to defeat Zverev in a very difficult matchup, but at least his mental approach is correct.

Carlos Alcaraz mentally ready to take the title at the French Open

In his press conference, Alcaraz said, "I was cramping, Jannik as well in the third set. You have to fight. Against Djokovic, I was in the same position, but I learnt you have to stay there fighting because the cramp will go away...You have to find the joy in suffering. That’s the key...Long rallies, four hour matches, five sets. You have to suffer. You have to enjoy it."

That speaks of wisdom from someone who appears much older than 21 years old. Alcaraz has already won two Grand Slams, and he could make it three by defeating Zverev. He understands that winning a major isn't simply who is physically better skilled, but who can fight off the demons in one's head saying, "You are hurting and you are tired."

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Oddly, though Alcaraz is just 21 and Zverev is 27, the younger player can rest a bit on the experience he has had while winning majors. Zverev has only reached the final of one major - the 2020 US Open. The German has never won a Grand Slam.

Whoever wins the French Open, Roland Garros will have a first-time winner. The tournament has been dominated since 2005 by Rafael Nadal and then Djokovic has won three times. Alcaraz and Zverev could win a few titles on the Paris clay, but one might feel like this is Carlos Alcaraz's time to begin to dominate the French Open.

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