It is the first time that Carlos Alcaraz loses a match, but he has the possibility of winning the tournament. With the exception of the Davis Cup, incomparable because it is played as a team and with a different format, the Spaniard had never suffered a defeat and had gone to the hotel to rest thinking about his next match in that event. That’s what the No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings faces at the Nitto ATP Finals: after losing on Monday to Alexander Zverev, Alcaraz will return to the court next Wednesday knowing that he still has a chance to advance to the semifinals.
“Congratulations to Alex for the victory!” wrote the Spaniard on his Instagram account. “This tournament is different for many things, and one of them is that it allows you to advance to the semifinals despite losing the first match,” he added. “Let’s go all out on Wednesday!”
Unlike any regular ATP Tour tournament, where a loss means packing your bags, the Nitto ATP Finals and its group stage allow players to bounce back after a bad start. There are many examples of participants who fell in their debut and went to the semifinals, and there is even what happened in 2009 with Nikolay Davydenko. At the premiere of the competition at the O2 Arena in London, after staying from 2005 to 2008 in Shanghai, Davydenko fell on the first day with Novak Djokovic, but then beat Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling (group stage), Roger Federer (semifinals ) and Juan Martín del Potro (final) to win the title.
“It is the only tournament in which a defeat does not eliminate you,” explained Alcaraz. “I have opportunities to continue improving and be able to get through the group stage. Tomorrow I will train to improve all the things that I have not done well today, which are quite a few,” added the Murcian, before engaging in more in-depth self-criticism.
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“Even though the track is very fast, I need to be more consistent,” he said. “At the end of the second set and beginning of the third, I threw three or four points away at first. That cannot happen, although everyone has their own style. I look at Novak, for example, and he doesn’t give one away the first time. Consistency has failed me a lot against Zverev.”
With Turin, the Spaniard added his third consecutive defeat (Shanghai, Paris-Bercy and Turin), something that had not happened since March 2021 (an ATP Challenger Tour in Las Palmas, Acapulco and Miami). What is the self-diagnosis of the two-time Grand Slam champion?
“I had been training quite well, with good feelings,” Alcaraz analyzed. “Physically I felt good and I continue to feel good, but after the defeat I don’t feel good on a tennis level,” he added. “It has been a very long and demanding year. I have to improve to reach this point in the season in better condition, especially on a mental level. It’s probably mental fatigue. “If I want to win this tournament, if I want to finish the year as number one, I have to reach this point of the year calm and well, wanting to win everything that is put in front of me,” he warned.
“At least I am clear about what is happening to me and what I need to improve. We will have to get to work. “I am managing the fact of facing this type of players better and better, and even more so here where every match can be a Grand Slam final.”