Carlos Alcaraz hopes to shake off injury in quest for maiden French Open title


Carlos Alcaraz hopes to shake off injury in quest for maiden French Open title

Carlos Alcaraz last played in Madrid three weeks ago
Carlos Alcaraz last played in Madrid three weeks agoReuters
Carlos Alcaraz (21) has won Grand Slams on grass and hard-courts but the Spaniard who broke into the men's tour by making a name for himself as a clay-court specialist has yet to reach the final at the French Open.

Novak Djokovic denied last year's top seed a place in the 2023 final but Alcaraz got revenge a month later when he quickly adapted to the faster grass courts and took the Serbian's crown at Wimbledon, stopping him winning a fifth straight title there.

However, Alcaraz has since lost his number one ranking and arrives at Roland Garros having had a far from ideal preparation after an injury cut short his claycourt swing this month.

He withdrew from the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open due to a forearm injury and although he attempted to retain his title in Madrid, going out in the quarter-finals, he later skipped the Italian Open.

"I felt some pain after playing in Madrid, some discomfort in my arm ... I did some tests and I have a muscle edema in my pronator teres (forearm muscle), a consequence of my recent injury," Alcaraz said when he withdrew from the Italian Open.

"I need to rest so I can recover and play 100% pain free."

Alcaraz is one of several contenders coming into the most unpredictable French Open tournament in recent years.

Rafa Nadal, the record 14-time champion, is nearing the end of his career and is well past his best due to injuries, while Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open due to nausea and dizziness after being hit on the head by a fan's water bottle.

Jannik Sinner, who could rise to number one this month, also withdrew ahead of the tournament in Rome with a hip problem and world number five Daniil Medvedev is also nursing a hip injury.

Knowing that his closest competitors on the tour are also not in top shape should give Alcaraz a boost and the Spaniard has been hard at work to get back in the groove, practising at the tennis academy of his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero.

"These days Carlos is working hard on trying to recover in order to be ready for the upcoming tournaments," Ferrero said.

With an 18-5 record this season, Alcaraz will hope to return to his best form when he defends his Indian Wells title in March.

"You can overcome all the problems that you have. It doesn't matter what problems you have," Alcaraz said when he won his second title at Indian Wells.

"If you believe in yourself, you have a really good team around, you work hard, everything can turn around."


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