Carlos Alcaraz saw his chance of winning his second consecutive title slip away in Rio and failed to match Novak Djokovic at the top of the ATP rankings. The 19-year-old Spaniard led by a set and a break in the final against Cameron Norrie, but his physique abandoned him at his best forcing him to undergo a comeback as unexpected as it was mocking.
Starting in the second set, ‘Carlitos’ felt quite sharp pain in the same leg muscle where he had suffered the injury earlier in the year. We recall that that problem had forced him to miss the 2023 Australian Open, making him lose the first position in the standings in favor of Djokovic.
Juan Carlos Ferrero’s protégé is expected to play the ATP 500 in Acapulco this week, but his participation in the Mexican tournament is in high doubt given the circumstances. In the latest edition of the Court-Side with Beilinson Tennis podcast, well-known journalist (Hall of Fame member) Steve Flink invited Alcaraz to take care of his physique and fine-tune his programming.
Steve Flink opens up on Alcaraz
“We could tell (he) has got an issue there, a serious issue – trying to play through it,” Flink said on the ‘Court-Side with Beilinson Tennis’ podcast. “Let’s just hope that Carlos Alcaraz is wise about his schedule for the next month.
I certainly hope he wouldn’t try to make this – three straight weeks and go on to Acapulco. That could be a dangerous move. I strongly suspect he will not make that mistake,” Flink remarked. “It isn’t even just a matter of Carlos thinking about this near-term, he has got to really pace himself through the years,” he said.
“He’s had a lot of woes, you might say; A lot of issues with his body and he’s clearly a very fit, young man, but he’s gotta pace himself. And we want to see him around this game into his 30s like the three icons of this generation.
That will only happen if he gets wise counsel and if he’s willing at certain times to say ‘No. I am putting my racquet down for a few weeks, I’m going to save myself.’” Andre Agassi’s former coach Brad Gilbert recently said that he would be absolutely shocked if Carlos Alcaraz did not win another Grand Slam title in the next five years.
“If you told me five years from now that he’d won six or seven Slams, I wouldn’t be surprised at all,” Gilbert said. “Maybe it’s 10, maybe it’s less. Obviously a big factor, too, is luck—injuries.
He plays so physical. But if you told me in five years that he had only one Slam, I would be absolutely shocked,” he added.
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