Carlos Alcaraz isn’t allowing his pursuit of the US Open championship stand in the way of his passion, Real Madrid, and the team’s sensational new recruit Jude Bellingham.
With an easy 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) victory against Lloyd Harris of South Africa on Thursday, world number one Alcaraz advanced to the third round in New York.
He wants to make history by becoming the first player to defend the US Open title since Roger Federer did it in 2008, when he won the trophy five times in a row.
Even yet, he continues to follow Madrid’s early-season success from a distance. Bellingham’s goal-scoring prowess has helped Madrid lead La Liga after three games.
Alcaraz said of the England star, who joined Real Madrid this summer for a reported fee of over 100 million euros ($110 million), “I’m really happy to watch him play.”
Bellingham, who is 20 years old, has impressed fellow 20-year-old Alcaraz by scoring four goals in three games for the league leaders.
The Spaniard praised the player, calling him “one of the best in the world,” for his incredible skill.
He will undoubtedly be the world’s greatest player in that role, in my opinion. Simply said, I’m overjoyed to have him on the team.
I had a brief conversation with him. And he’s such a wonderful guy. He is a whole man.”
Alcaraz’s opening-round encounter at the US Open was cut short by injury, but other than one little glitch in the third set vs Harris, he has had little issue in his first two matches.
Alcaraz said, “I think I played a great match.” “I’m going to keep the second set level if I have to keep anything from the match.”
“That (the third set) break was something I had to forget. I lost the game so badly. I had to set it aside and concentrate. For me, winning in straight sets is crucial throughout the first stages.”
The 20-year-old faces Britain’s 26th seed Dan Evans in the round of 32. After the event, he will lose his world no. 1 status to Novak Djokovic.
It’s going to be really difficult. I’ll give it my all. If I want to win that match, I’ll need to come back very, really well. Let’s wait and see,” Alcaraz said.
When asked whether he will follow in Federer’s footsteps fifteen years later, he said, “It’s motivation. Having that accomplishment to share would be incredible.”