"I'm really excited to play my first match here at the US Open again," the reining Grand Slam champ tells PEOPLE exclusively ahead of the tournament
Carlos Alcaraz knows how to memorialize a victory.
The Spanish superstar — who won the US Open in 2022, shooting him from No. 32 at the start of last year to the No. 1 tennis player in the world — is continuing to tear up the competition again, already eyeing the prize of the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year.
Alcaraz reminisced about his 2022 US Open when speaking with PEOPLE at The Lotte Palace Invitational in New York City on Thursday — while also revealing how he'd like to celebrate this year, should he clinch the championship title for the second year in a row.
"I had a dinner with all the people that were here watching," Alcaraz, 20, tells PEOPLE, of his post-win celebrations. "And I got a tattoo as well!"
The Spanish prodigy — who secured his first Slam title at just 19 years old and the No. 1 ATP ranking, becoming the youngest men’s player and first teenager in the Open Era to hold the top spot — is no stranger to permanent ink, though decided to add to his collection of tats with the date he won the 2022 US Open.
On his left tricep, Alcaraz has the numerals "11.09.22." tattooed just above his elbow.
As for how the reining champ plans to celebrate this year? "Probably another tattoo," he ponders, before confidently stating it's "the best" way to relish a big win, along with taking time off.
"For me, the best thing to do after a good victory is just to spend time at home with your family, friends that you are not usually with during the year," he says. "So just spending time with them at home."
Not only would a 2023 US Open win mark the second time Alcaraz claims the title, but it'd mark his second consecutive Grand Slam victory this year. It would follow his triumph at Wimbledon in July 2023, when he defeated the four-time consecutive winner and tennis legend Novak Djokovic.
Alcaraz's mindset is surely there, telling PEOPLE that he's "feeling great" heading into the tournament. "I had my first practice there, I loved it." The tennis star adds, "I'm really excited to play my first match here at the US Open again."
But only after he shakes "all the nerves" and "all the pressure" will he mentally feel prepped to take hit the court with confidence. "I have my routines."
"I have my team supporting me and they talk to me in a certain way to fight that nerve, that pressure," he says. "But I always say that I try not to think about anything else."
The 2022 US Open reining champ's mantra: "I love playing tennis and that's the only thing that matters and that's the only thing that I am thinking about when I step on court."
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Read the original article on People.