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What’s up with Carlos Alcaraz?

by TN

While Jannik Sinner has won every match he has played in 2024, Alcaraz is struggling. What’s up with Carlos Alcaraz?

Yesterday, Alcaraz lost in the semi-finals of the Buenos Aires ATP 250 to Nicolas Jarry. The tall Chilean played some great tennis, so we should not throw too much shade on Alcaraz performance, but it is not what we have come to expect from the world number 2.

Something feels a little disjointed about Alcaraz’s performances. He plays well for a stretch, but then he has moments and periods during the matches where he loses focus and starts missing. Then it might get into crunch time and then he starts chasing every ball down and fighting, but the damage might already be done in the scoreline.

There is no doubting Alcaraz’s potential, but he hasn’t reached a final since Cincinnati last year (August). And I don’t think we have seen any clear improvements to his game.

By the way, Alcaraz is using a Babolat Pure Aero 98 (click for our review) and strings it with Babolat RPM Blast 1.25 at 55 lbs in the mains and 51 lbs in the crosses. You can check out this racquet from our friends at Tennis Warehouse. It is a top seller and was awarded one of the best racquets of 2023.

Reasons for Alcaraz’s slump

There can be several reasons for Alcaraz’s lack of strong results, but here are our best guesses.

The absence of Juan Carlos Ferrero

Ferrero has yet to be in Alcaraz camp so far this year (until Buenos Aires) due to knee surgery. Since Ferrero has been with Carlitos since he was a teenager, they have a stronger bond than many players and coaches. And Alcaraz relies greatly on Ferrero’s encouragement and advice during tournaments and matches. Especially since, strategically, he has seemed a little bit all over the place, I think this is the strongest reason for the lack of results.

Breakthrough hangover

Alcaraz got a lot of expectations after his first two Grand Slam titles—especially the Wimbledon win last year against Djokovic in the final, which felt significant. Most of the tennis world set many expectations on him after that. I’m sure he put enormous pressure on himself to keep winning and collecting slams. This can have backfired and the stress of the pressure can lead him to self-sabotage on the court. He is still young and needs to develop.

Sinner

Jannik Sinner’s slow but steady ascent to the top of the tennis world (three in the rankings from next week) is in contrast to Carlitos’ rapid breakthrough. Sinner currently looks like the better, more mature player of the two and that can obviously hurt Alcaraz’s confidence. Especially since he seemed to be in the lead not long ago. He can still turn this around to be an inspiration for his own success. This could become an amazing rivalry over the years, but right now, it’s more about Sinner’s dominance than Alcaraz and he is also ahead in the head-to-head.

Holes in his game

While Jannik Sinner looks like a pretty complete player with a steady rate of improvement, there are some holes in Alcaraz’s game. The serve is still not as good as it can be and not the weapon it needs to be for him to win points more easily.

It’s also clear that more patience to build points would greatly benefit Carlitos. He is a little too keen on pulling the trigger sometimes. We know he has the game to do it, but tennis is a game where unforced errors lose most matches, and the young Spaniard can be a little too trigger-happy sometimes.

Summary

So what’s up with Carlos Alcaraz? Do you have any theories? The most sensible response is that he is a young guy who has already picked up two grand slam titles. We should give him time and not over-analyze his lack of progress recently. Still, this is what sports is for. It’s a fun topic and distraction to talk about and discuss. So it is obvious that these conversations will happen when he has gone over half a year without a title.

I think he will come back to winning ways shortly. Maybe some Ferrero magic will do the trick. What do you think?

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1 comment

Jose February 18, 2024 - 21:35

Hey ??. Carlitos is my #1 Favorite player. But I will say my opinion. 1. I think that the Cincinnati loss got to him. 2. Players now know his game more. Remember, the 2024 Carlitos isn’t the 2021-2022 Carlitos who was not in the top 5 producing mayor upsets on the tour. 3. He now being a #1 ranked player has all of the pressure of winning every match he plays, and that affects his gameplay. I have noticed that his game isn’t as aggressive as it was before August 2023. Pressure is a big part of that. That is just my take lol

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