For his first participation in the ATP Masters, Carlos Alcaraz hopes to play the leading roles, but the world No.2, in slow motion since September, lost his opening match against Alexander Zverev 6-7 (3/7), 6- 3, 6-4, Monday in Turin (Italy). As in Paris two weeks ago, Alcaraz lost as soon as he entered the fray. Beaten by the Russian Roman Safiullin, 45th in the world, during the Paris Masters 1000 (6-3, 6-4), this time he suffered the law of Zverev, double winner of the “Masters tournament” (2018, 2021) and 7th global.
But the two matches were noticeably similar in their progress: dominant at the start of the match, the Spanish prodigy gradually faded away, unable to find a solution on Monday against the service of his German opponent (15 aces). At a press conference, however, he tried to brush aside the idea that he was finishing the season out of breath, after having played 75 matches, including Monday's, and suffering from a series of physical problems since August (back, foot LEFT). “This match was decided by few things, I lost it, because he has one of the most powerful serves on the circuit and I did not know how to seize my chance when opportunities presented themselves with several balls of break,” he insisted.
“I feel good physically, I haven't played much at the end of the season,” recalled the Spaniard who won six titles in 2023, including Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam tournament which escaped Novak Djokovic. “I would have liked to compete in these Masters in better shape, with better sensations,” he finally admitted.
If this setback does not sound the death knell for his ambitions in the Turin meeting, “Carlitos” now no longer has the right to make mistakes when he faces the Russian Daniil Medvedev or his compatriot Andrey Rublev on Wednesday. The two Russians face each other in the red group on Monday evening (9:00 p.m.).
On Tuesday evening, Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, each winner of their first match, will face each other for what could be the final of the green group. Djokovic made an appearance on the Pala Alpitour court on Monday, to receive his world No.1 trophy, which he won for the 8th time in his career by beating the Dane Holger Rune on Sunday evening. “It’s well deserved,” said Alcaraz. What he accomplished this season is incredible, he only lost five matches and yet he says it's not one of the best seasons of his career, it's crazy. Spaniard, admiring.