Alcaraz remains cautious as he returns to competition: “I have so many things to improve”

Back in competition this week in Buenos Aires, the Spaniard is ambitious but knows he still has to improve and find the rhythm

Carlos Alcaraz in Abu Dhabi in December 2022 Carlos Alcaraz in Abu Dhabi in December 2022 Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic

The tennis world has not seen Carlos Alcaraz following his retirement against Holger Rune in the quarter-finals of the Rolex Paris Masters in November 2022. What seemed like a precautionary measure at first ultimately turned out to be a rib injury that forced him to pull out of the ATP Finals in Turin. The Spaniard was expected to be back in time for the Australian Open but he had suffered another injury while training just before Melbourne.

“This time, it’s the semi-membranous muscle of my right leg,” he said on Twitter.

Alcaraz is now back as he prepares to begin his 2023 season in Buenos Aires on clay this week. He will make his debut against the winner of the first round match between Fabio Fognini or Laslo Djere.

“It’s been going on for four months. But I always arrive thinking about winning and wanting to win, even if it will not be easy after such a long period without competition,” said the current world No 2 in a press conference on the eve of the Buenos Aires tournament. He also came a few days earlier as compared to other players to get into rhythm quickly. The regaining US Open champion has been training with Italian Lorenzo Musetti among others since he arrived.

If he is very pleased with his 2022 season, synonymous, among other things, with his first Grand Slam title, the Spaniard is aware of his room for improvement: “After becoming No 1, I had to set new goals, new things for the long term, to continue to have fun, to continue to improve, because I am very young and I have a lot of things to improve, despite being No 1. You have to keep training and looking forward,” he said.

Alcaraz wants to be inspired by the Big 3

In 2022, another proof of his gigantic season, Carlos Alcaraz defeated Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament, in Madrid, in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively. It is on these players that the native of El Palmar wants to model himself on.

“Rafa, Roger and Djokovic, when they were young, they were so good, but over time they got better. I’m sure I have to keep improving. Realizing my dream very quickly took me by surprise, so to speak. Now I’ve gotten used to it, I have a goal, I know where I want to be, what I want to be, and that’s the most important thing.”

In the very short term, what he wants to be is the champion of the Buenos Aires tournament at the end of this week. If he does eventually win, he would emulate his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, who won the trophy here in 2010, beating another Spaniard, David Ferrer.

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