Carlos Alcaraz speaks with CNN after US Open win
(CNN) — In his first major championship, Carlos Alcaraz, who grew up loving the Washington Monument, had a tough road back from such a devastating first-round defeat.
The only thing left for him to do was to hold himself together and make a strong enough effort down the stretch to help his country win its first ever men’s Olympic tennis singles title.
And he did.
Alcaraz, who had to fight off a bout of malaria for the last week of the finals, won 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to defeat the world No. 1, David Ferrer, in five sets Sunday.
“The last few days before the final, the feeling was really good I thought,” he said shortly after the match. “I was playing well all week.”
As the tournament started, the Spaniard was down in the grassy patch behind a wall of spectators, who had gathered at the end of the fifth-seeded Ferrer’s second match of the tournament in the quarterfinals, when he felt some discomfort in his abdomen.
Alcaraz, at first, thought it might be the bug that had given him the stomachache. But he knew it was something more serious.
“The next morning I woke up and I thought ‘oh no, something horrible happened’,” he said. “I went to my doctor and they told me I had an infection so it was best just to rest. He said just to stay away from the tournament for the next few days.”
Alcaraz’s wife, Alicia, said it was a tough day. “I couldn’t imagine him losing this match and I couldn’t imagine him winning the match,” she said.
He took some time off to recuperate before returning, and it was a very important trip home for the two boys.
“This was the reason I came back, to get over my loss,” said Alcaraz, who was still nursing a painful thigh injury following his loss