Roland Garros

Alcaraz, almost ready: with more strength and intensity in his drive

The Spaniard debuts on Sunday at Roland Garros after missing three tournaments on the clay tour

May 24, 2024

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Carlos Alcaraz, during training at Roland Garros
By Staff

Early on Friday, Carlos Alcaraz trained with Cameron Norrie at great intensity on the Philippe Chatrier, the center court at Roland Garros. Two days before the start of the second Grand Slam of the season, the No. 3 in the PIF ATP Rankings continued to increase the workload after missing three of the four tournaments (Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome) that he had planned on the tour due to injury. European clay court, not counting the Paris event.

The two-time Grand Slam champion, who turned 21 a few days ago, has battled pain in his right forearm since changing surfaces after Miami, going from playing on hard courts to clay. Thus, Alcaraz withdrew days before making his debut in Monte Carlo, even though he had spent several days training in Monaco. Then he was forced to discard Barcelona as well, where he defended the title (winner of the last two editions, in 2022 and 2023) and played in Madrid (champion in 2022 and 2023), chained to discomfort, losing to Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals. final.

Precisely in the capital of Spain, his only tournament of the tour (he later resigned from Rome to recover after relapse of the injury in the Caja Mágica), Alcaraz confessed that he thought too much about hurting himself by hitting the ball with his right, especially by going all out when executing that key shot in his game.

“Now I’m better,” the Murcian acknowledged on Friday at Roland Garros. “I am hitting harder and with more intensity on the right than in Madrid, for example. I still think about it from time to time when hitting. “It is something that I have to be working on these days in training, since things are going very well with my forearm, both on and off the track,” he continued. “I have to trust in the work I have done, in my team and in how I am doing to try to make that thought go away, but right now I still have it.”

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After announcing his withdrawal at the Foro Italico in Rome, the Spaniard began a gradual process to be ready for Roland Garros: he spent several days without touching the racket, then began training with Juan Carlos Ferrero, increasing the effort per session (controlling the forehand blows, the blow that has given him the most problems with this injury), and finally arrived in Paris, where he has trained with important rivals since he landed last Wednesday.

As a result of this entire process, when Alcaraz debuts next Sunday at Roland Garros, he will have done so with four official matches on clay on the tour prior to Paris. Could that be a problem for Spanish?

“Each one is different, as a player and as a person,” said Alcaraz. “There are people who need a lot of games, a lot of tournaments, and others who don’t so much. I consider myself a person who does not need to train every day to get into a good rhythm,” he added. “Maybe there is some [entrenamiento] that I can skip, as many of you have seen in the Grand Slams. There are rest days when I don’t play, and then that doesn’t play tricks on me. I am a player who does not need so many games to get into good shape.”

This is how Alcaraz arrives at one of the most open editions of Roland Garros in recent years, without a clear favorite, without a clear dominator, without a clear tennis player who is ahead in the race towards the Musketeers Cup. 2024 is a year of many options, with many candidates, with everything to be decided.

“That’s the beauty of tennis right now: there is a wide range of players who can win the best tournaments, who can win the Grand Slams,” explained the No. 3. “In the end, you watch the matches without knowing what’s going on.” to pass. I think that’s nice. Rafa is always there. Zverev is always there, even if he faces Nadal first. As for Sinner, although he is coming back from an injury, I also see him capable of achieving it. And of course Djokovic. “I don’t have a clear favorite to win the tournament, there is a wide range of tennis players who can do it.”


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