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Beaten and with a taped-up arm, some worries for Alcaraz ahead of Wimbledon

It was not a good debut for the Spaniard at the London exhibition, losing 6-4, 6-2 – and with an injured arm

Carlos Alcaraz Carlos Alcaraz at Roland-Garros in 2022 (Federico Pestellini/Panoramic)

All eyes were on Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday as he played his first (albeit unofficial) match since losing to Alexander Zverev in the French Open quarter-finals. In the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic exhibition at London’s exclusive Hurlingham Club, the Spaniard faced Frances Tiafoe – who has been training with Serena Williams at Eastbourne.

As soon as he stepped on to the court, Alcaraz’s strapped-up arm was obvious.

“The elbow is bothering him a little bit, and the bandage serves to protect him a little bit more,” his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero told Eurosport a few days ago. Against Tiafoe, the Spaniard didn’t seem troubled by his elbow and hit his shots with the full power he is known for.

But lacking rhythm and a sense of direction on grass, the man who had not played a match on this surface since his second round loss at Wimbledon in 2021 suffered. He got the first break point of the match at 3-2, but then lost the lead and lost his set to go down 4-3. He managed to break again, but Alcaraz conceded a second break in the process.

Alcaraz with everything to prove

The second set was totally in Tiafoe’s favour, as he took advantage of his opponent’s weaknesses on the second ball to constantly attack him on the return. Alcaraz, who was often outplayed, was only able to score two games in the second set. The Spaniard is not expected to play any further matches at the London exhibition event, and is expected to start training on Wimbledon grass tomorrow.

It’s not yet quite clear how comfortable Alcaraz is on grass. The world No 7 has only played two matches on this surface on the main tour, at Wimbledon in 2021. He beat world No 116 Yasutaka Uchiyama in five sets in the first round before falling to Daniil Medvedev in three sets in the next round. A favourite at the French Open, the Spaniard will not have that tag in London.

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