Carlos Alcaraz is making a comeback after his long-awaited injury in Argentina this week, more than 100 days after playing his last match at the Paris Masters. The 19-year-old made history last year as the youngest-ever ATP World No. 1-ranked player after winning the US Open, but has since competed in three more tournaments following his injury. Alcaraz has now lost its No. 1 ranking but coach Juan Carlos Ferrero has made it clear why he is not focused on getting it back.
Alcaraz is the top seed at the Argentine Open this week, his first tournament in more than three months. The world No. 2 was last seen on the court of a match 101 days ago, when he retired injured against Holger Rohn in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters, then was forced to withdraw from the ATP and Davis Cup finals.
A fresh injury in pre-season training has further delayed Alcaraz’s return as he was forced to skip the Australian Open and finally return to action in Buenos Aires this week. Since then, Djokovic has surpassed the 19-year-old to become No. 1 in the world, but his coach revealed that their main aim was to ensure the Spaniard stayed healthy rather than focusing on numbers.
“The goal of being No. 1 is always in the mind, but, of course, not an obsession, because of his youth and because he was already,” Juan Carlos Ferrero – former world No. 1 – told Eurosport magazine. The official returns to the round. “At the moment, what Carlos wants is to be healthy and to be competitive, he wants to perform at his best level and fight to win trophies.”
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The 2003 French Open champion also said Alcaraz was back to his usual self after back-to-back injuries as he gave a fitness update ahead of the world number one match. He added, “The recovery continued on its course and in recent weeks he has been training without problems. Usually, he plays groups and matches against different players, so everything is normal.”
The Alcaraz coach also explained why he believes the 19-year-old’s two injury setbacks weren’t just bad luck, and were likely caused by the amount of tennis he’s played in 2022. A machine, I think, is a career risk and, above all, many From the accumulated games, in addition to the tension of the desire to win games and play. “This is where the injury happens,” Ferrero said.
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The US Open winner is expected to play his first match in the evening session on February 15 after receiving a bye to the second round as the top seed, where he will face either Fabio Fognini or Laslo Djiri. He is next scheduled to play ATP 500s in Rio and Acapulco before “double sunshine” for the Masters in Indian Wells and Miami, and Ferrero explained how they’ll set up Alcaraz’s schedule throughout.
“We’re really looking forward to the competition and we know the calendar is filled with a lot of tournaments on this Tour, but we’ll go week by week, and later we’ll evaluate each step,” Ferrero – who won’t travel to join Alcaraz until the Acapulco Open – added. “Now we want to play as much as we can, without being more anxious than usual, although there are always fears in a tennis player’s head. Maybe more after an injury, but not more than usual.”
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