World number one Carlos Alcaraz is aiming to make amends as he plays an ATP Masters 1000 event in Canada for only the second time in his career.
The Wimbledon champion made a poor start a year ago in Montreal, losing his opening match to American Tommy Paul in his ATP debut in the country.
The 20-year-old Spaniard, who will defend the 2022 US Open crown in New York starting later this month, opens as a title favourite this year in Toronto.
Alcaraz said he’s aware of the need to address the pressure he will face as the top target from Monday.
“I remember last year I didn’t have a good tournament in Canada. I have come this year to change it,” he said after arriving in North America.
“I hope to go far, do better than last season. A year later, I think I’ve learned a lot from that situation, how to deal with pressure.”
In addition to becoming a two-time Grand Slam champion, Alcaraz has won five other titles in six finals appearances since last year’s Canada event, including crowns this year at Argentina, Indian Wells, Barcelona, Madrid and Queen’s.
“I’ve been playing in big stadiums, big games, fighting for big things. I think that helped me a lot to grow as a player, as a person,” Alcaraz said.
“A year later, I’m totally different.”
The top seed will face his initial test in the second round, awaiting the winner from compatriot Bernabé Zapata or American Ben Shelton.
Alcaraz heads the tournament field ahead of second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and number three Casper Ruud.
The Spaniard will be competing for the first time this summer on hardcourt after stepping back onto clay for the Hopman Cup team event in Nice.
He will need to put last month’s Wimbledon triumph in perspective after achieving the biggest victory of his young career.
“I have the Wimbledon trophy in my living room, so every time I have lunch or dinner with my family, I see the title. It’s something I don’t want to forget,” he said.
“I only had a week to think about it... it needed a little more because it’s crazy that it’s hard to realise.”
Alcaraz called winning Wimbledon at age 20 in only his third appearance “something I dreamed of when I started playing tennis.”
“For me it is an achievement and it is something that I have to take some time to think about it -- and I still can’t believe it.”
Alcaraz has already trained on the cement with Medvedev, his main Toronto rival.
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