Carlos Alcaraz became the king of Miami with his 7-5, 6-4 win over Casper Ruud on Sunday, becoming the first Spaniard to win the South Florida title in the event’s 37-year history. Playing in his first ATP Masters 1000 final, Alcaraz was able to manage his nerves to overcome a slow start and win the biggest title of his young career.
But he could not hide those nerves when he received a surprise phone call from the King of Spain, Felipe VI.
“It’s pretty amazing to get the call from the Spanish king. I was more nervous [for] that call than the match,” he said with a grin. “It’s pretty amazing that the Spanish king congratulates you on the hard work that you put every day and your win. It’s something that you never thought you were going to receive, a Spanish king call. It’s amazing.”
When it came to the match, Alcaraz credited coach Juan Carlos Ferrero with helping him stay calm with some words of wisdom.
“He told me that everybody knows it’s going to be my first [ATP Masters 1000] final, but try to think that this is the first match of the tournament, try to manage the nerves like I did in the semi-final, which it was my second one [at the Masters 1000 level, after Indian Wells]. Try to put my game, try [not to] think about the final. Just keep going, keep strong mentally like I did in every match in this tournament.
“Just enjoy the moment, enjoy the match, enjoy my first Masters 1000 final and go for it.”
Ferrero was not in Miami until Sunday’s final after the recent passing of his father, Eduardo. But the former World No. 1 surprised Alcaraz by flying in before the championship match.
“Juan Carlos [is a] very important person for me. In the professional side, on the personal side, he helps me a lot in both sides. When we are together, we will talk about everything in life, everything in our sport, about football, as well.
“Juan Carlos, I consider him a coach and a friend as well. So I can talk to him about everything.”
Their coaching relationship began in 2018, and the fast-moving partnership has now yielded a new high with Alcaraz’s third ATP Tour title.
“When I won the last point, all the times that I dreamed of this came to my mind,” Alcaraz said, describing the match-point celebration during which he collapsed to the court in Hard Rock Stadium. “When I was younger, I dreamed to get a Masters 1000 Alcaraz On Call From King Of Spain: 'I Was More Nervous Than The Match'. When I fell onto the floor, I remembered that. All the dreams, all the hard work, all the training, all the troubles, everything came to my mind in that moment.”
The Spaniard will be knocking on the door of the Top 10 at the start of the spring clay season, his Miami title earning him a new career-high ATP Ranking of No. 11. Alcaraz was asked if he still prefers the surface he grew up on, compared to the hard courts on which he posted a 10-1 record across Indian Wells and Miami.
“All I can say is I’ve got two titles on clay and one on hard court,” he replied. “I feel very comfortable in both surfaces, so I don’t mind playing on clay or on hard court.”