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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday August 11, 2022

After dropping his first match of the North American hard court swing, Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz was very critical of his performance.

Tennis Express

Seeded second at the National Bank Open, the 19-year-old says the pressure got to him and added that he didn’t handle the challenge of switching surfaces from clay, where he played recent events in Hamburg and Umag, to hard courts.

Alcaraz lost to American Tommy Paul, 6-7(4), 7-6(7), 6-3, squandering a match point in the second set, and will head to Cincinnati badly in need of matches – and at least a few confidence-building victories – on hard courts.

“I couldn't show my best performance here,” Alcaraz told reporters on Wednesday. “But as I said, first rounds, you have to fight against your opponents and of course against yourself. Obviously it was tough to handle that moments knowing that I'm not playing my hundred percents, let's say.

“Of course, as you said, it was a fight with myself.”

Alcaraz feels that he let the pressure and expectations get to him on Wednesday.

“It was the first time that I couldn't handle the pressure,” he said. “I felt the pressure to be the No. 2 seed in this kind of tournaments, No. 4 in the world. It was the first time that I felt that pressure, and I couldn't handle it.

“All I can say from this match is I have to train, I have to be ready to have this pressure, to have this kind of moments, and to learn how to handle it. That's all I can say right now.”

The World No.4 drops to 42-8 on the season and 12-3 on hard courts.