Carlos Alcaraz overwhelmed by the pressure in the first real tough test of his career

The muscle problem, perhaps cramps, suffered by Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinal of the Roland Garros 2023 lost against Novak Djokovic, had a precise cause: too much tension. But too much tension equals too much pressure

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Carlos Alcaraz overwhelmed by the pressure in the first real tough test of his career

The muscle problem, perhaps cramps, suffered by Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinal of the Roland Garros 2023 lost against Novak Djokovic, had a precise cause: too much tension. As said in the press conference by the young Spanish star himself.

Too much tension equals too much pressure. The pressure of expectations of an event and a highly anticipated match by the media, insiders and fans. Djokovic wasn't at his best, but he still showed his super champion status.

The match was balanced until the end of the second set. Then came the physical problems, which forced Alcaraz to play practically stationary in the third and fourth set. Alcaraz explained: "I am disappointed that something like this happened in a match like this.

I came to this match with great emotion, I felt good physically. Then I had cramps at the end of the second set and at the beginning of the third, it was really disappointing. I think it's because of the tension. The main thing was the tension I had during the first two sets.

You have to learn from these matches and gain experience. It's not easy to play against Novak. If someone says he goes into the court without tension when he faces Novak, he lies. You are always tense in a Grand Slam semifinal; even more when you play against Novak.

I have never felt these feelings. I have never felt tension like this."

Carlos Alcaraz overwhelmed by the pressure in the first real tough test of his career

Normal for such a young boy, but we are still talking about a Grand Slam winner, who has already won 10 titles in his career, at the age of 20.

But it's also true, for example, that he won the US Open without being able to face Djokovic or Nadal. And, due to an injury, he wasn't in Melbourne at the start of the season. Carlos will have plenty of time to fully understand what happened in the Roland Garros semifinal loss against Djokovic, focusing especially on the mental side.

One of the Spaniard's strengths is his mental strength: an element swept away in the first real tough test of his career. A sort of block, or mental lability, expressed only in this semifinal, but which risks leaving too many dross, especially with Wimbledon just around the corner, and with the US Open to defend.

The truth is that Novak Djokovic, in the Grand Slams and, even more, in the cluch moments of the Grand Slams, is almost impossible to beat. Experience, talent, mental strength, history, tactics, technique: Carlos could not mentally overcome the wall of history erected by the Serbian legend.

Even his physiotherapist, Juanjo Moreno, tried to explain the situation: "A defeat always hurts, it's hard to accept, but we always say it's not a defeat, but a learning experience. I was after the game to take care of Carlos and his body is fine, his muscles are in order.

But there was a lot of tension at the time, which translated into a moment of relaxation when the ramp arrived. This happens to many athletes in the press room, for example. Carlos always managed to handle it very well, in the warm up we were having fun, we were having fun, but as you approach the game nerves and tension appear, and on this occasion perhaps the mental tension was more evident than in other moments.

" The real question that closes this article is: will he be able to quickly overcome what happened to Alcaraz? Or can this defeat undermine his certainties?

Carlos Alcaraz Roland Garros Novak Djokovic
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