“Last year I was watching matches from my couch, now I moved to the second week here” – Carlos Alcaraz reaches Australian Open 4R for the first time

Carlos Alcaraz has expressed delight at making it to the second week of the 2024 Australian Open for the first time in his career.

Alcaraz pulled out of the Melbourne Major in 2023 as he had not recovered from the abdominal injury he picked up at the Paris Masters. This year, he has barely put a foot wrong at the tournament.

The Spaniard began his campaign with a comfortable straight-sets win against Richard Gasquet and followed it with a four-set defeat of Lorenzo Sonego. In the third round, Alcaraz faced Juncheng Shang and won the first sets before the 18-year-old retired due to injury.

In his on-court interview after the contest, Alcaraz stated his joy at competing in Melbourne this year after being forced to miss the event in 2023.

“Yeah, absolutely [feels good to be in the second week of the Australian Open]. I missed this one last year. I was watching the matches from home, from the couch, wishing to play in the second week here,” he said.

Having bettered his best record Down Under — a third-round finish in 2022 — Alcaraz is hoping to keep playing well and go deeper into the tournament.

“This is the first time that I moved to the second week here in Australia. It feels special. I watched this tournament every year. Coming to the tournament this year thinking of improving the result that I did in 2022 and I did it. Now it’s time to keep going, to play better and better, and hopefully still moving rounds,” he added.

Carlos Alcaraz: “I’m glad finally I played against a younger player”

Carlos Alcaraz is through to the fourth round of the 2024 Australian Open.
Carlos Alcaraz is through to the fourth round of the 2024 Australian Open.

Carlos Alcaraz’s clash with Juncheng Shang was the first time the World No. 2 has faced someone younger than him on the ATP tour.

Shang has impressed at the Australian Open. He beat American Mackenzie McDonald in five sets in the opening round before fighting from a set down to beat Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal.

Alcaraz wished Shang a speedy recovery and said that he was happy to finally play someone younger than him, even if the match did not conclude as they’d have hoped.

“This is not the way that anybody wants to move on. First of all, I want to wish him a speedy recovery. He’s an amazing player. He started here [at the Australian Open] unbelievably, playing great games and I was looking forward to playing this match,” he said.

“Tennis is growing and more young players are coming up. So I think it’s great for tennis and the people as well, watching young players playing this stage. So I’m glad finally I played against a younger player,” the Spaniard added.

With a place in the quarterfinals on the line, Alcaraz will next face Miomir Kecmanovic.

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