Carlos Alcaraz on learning to cook and a penchant for skewers | ATP tour

At 19, Carlos Alcaraz has already won two ATP Masters 1000 titles and is one of the big favorites at Roland Garros this fortnight.

Possessing an impressive physique that fueled his meteoric rise, the Spaniard let ATPTour.com in on some of his dietary secrets, also discussing his room for improvement in the kitchen and the Murcian kebab scene.

Let’s say you have to cook tonight, either for yourself or for friends. What are you cooking and why?
Right now, I would tell my friends to bring their own food in case my food isn’t good (laughs). And I would, I don’t know… meat and potatoes. That’s it. I don’t really know how to cook. But, in fact, I would like to cook them a good fish in the oven. Yes, that’s right, salt-baked sea bass with roast potatoes. It would be a good dinner.

Are you so bad at cooking?
I only know the basics. Pasta, tortillas… I would like to know more because I like to cook, but I haven’t had time to learn yet.

Is learning to cook something you want to do or a real goal for the future?
I will at some point, yes. But in Murcia, I live with my parents, so I don’t cook. If I live alone one day, yes, I would like to learn to cook for myself and to cook for the people who come. Also, for taking care of me in this regard when I am in Murcia.

Are you strict with your diet?
I’m not on a diet as such, but I try to take care of myself. I really learned what is good for my career and what is not. But when I have to go on a diet, I do.

How did you learn to identify what is good for you to eat?
I don’t really have a nutritionist, but my physio, Juanjo Moreno, knows a lot. He’s a really curious guy and he tries to study nutrition and give me advice at tournaments. I learned little by little.

What is your diet ?
I eat a lot of fish, more than meat. I eat a lot of pasta, it’s good for athletes. And I’m lucky enough to be able to eat a lot without gaining fat. It’s good for me to eat a lot, and that’s what I do. I also eat a lot of salad, a lot of rice… I love sushi! It is so good.

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Do you have guilty pleasures?
I don’t really like desserts or sweets, but when I’m in Murcia sometimes I like to have my burgers, pizzas… I really like that.

Is there anything you can’t eat?
No. I eat what I want…I really try to take care of myself, but if I see something I like, I’m really glad I got it. There are people who won’t eat a certain food, but not me. I’m happy to eat whatever they put in front of me.

Do people laugh at you for eating so much?
I just like to eat… my friends tell me ‘You eat really a lot, but you’re not gaining weight, are you?’ And I tell them ‘You’re not eating enough, eat more.’ They say ‘It’s easy for you to tell because you’re not gaining weight.’ That’s how it usually goes.

What do you eat the day before a match?
Sushi, I have a lot.

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What do you eat just before a match and how many hours before do you eat it?
I have a plate of gluten-free mixed pasta. That is, pasta with and without gluten, with a cocoa cream called Ambrosía which contains olive oil and dates. Normally I eat all of this, more or less, an hour and a half before a game.

And what do we eat during a game?
When it’s game time I normally have a sea bass with dates, egg whites and, I think, guarana in it. And I normally have bananas too. I’ve been eating it for a long time, about a year and a half, and I really like it.

What can you eat during a non-tournament week that you can’t eat while competing?
There are not many changes. The only thing that changes are the supplements. In pre-season, for example, I have more, but that’s it.

If you go to one of your favorite restaurants, what do you order?
I like pasta very much… I don’t have a favorite restaurant as such, but if I go to a good restaurant and there is pasta, I normally order it.

What would people be surprised to learn that you like to eat?
Skewers. I eat them a lot when I’m in Murcia. But really, I am very simple. I don’t think I would surprise anyone with what I eat.