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Tennis-Alcaraz aims to make Wimbledon’s Centre Court his own


By Clare Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) – Carlos Alcaraz is only 20 and already he is the world’s top men’s tennis player. Now, with one Centre Court victory under his belt, he has his sights set on making Wimbledon’s famous show court his own – and for many years to come.

After beating France’s Alexandre Muller in straight sets under bright sunshine to reach the third round, the genial 20-year-old Spaniard said it was special to notch his first victory on the “really beautiful court.”

“I feel that I belong in that court. I feel like I’m ready to play more matches, to play more great matches on that court,” he said.

Alcaraz already has a taste for major honours, having secured the U.S. Open title. He wants more.

“It would be amazing for me to play a final here in Wimbledon. Even better if is against Novak obviously.”

Alcaraz is seeded to play defending champion and 23-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic, who knocked him out of last month’s French Open, in the final.

Djokovic has won Wimbledon seven times and he and Roger Federer, who has retired, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are the only men to have lifted the trophy for more than 20 years.

Alcaraz aims to break that ageing stranglehold but knows he cannot get ahead of himself.

“There’s a lot of great players playing here on grass, that feel really, really comfortable on grass. I have to be really, really focused until the final.

“It’s a lot of matches ahead. I can’t relax. I have to play my best in every match. Let’s see if I reach the final or not,” he said with his ever-ready smile.

Alcaraz said he was nervous at the start of the match and the court felt faster than Court One where he played his first round. On Friday he struggled with his range, making 41 unforced errors and was made to work hard by a motivated 84th-ranked Muller.

He came through 6-4 7-6(2) 6-3 with powerful groundstrokes alongside exquisite touch tennis.

“The dropshot is a weapon for me. I try to use it in every match. Today was really, really good for me. I won a lot of points with the dropshots.

“I’ll try to do it again in the next round.”

(Reporting by Clare Lovell; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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