Carlos Alcaraz - Miami Open 2024

Carlos Alcaraz reveals he has ‘low expectations’ despite convincing victory

Carlos Alcaraz has returned to winning ways at Roland Garros, but the Spaniard admitted that he still feels ‘afraid’ to hit forehands after his recent injury woes.

Alcaraz beat lucky loser Jeffrey John Wolf, 6-1 6-2 6-1, in a convincing first match in over three weeks.

The 21-year-old was forced to withdraw from the recent Italian Open due to an ongoing pronator teres injury (forearm), but appears to be feeling better after returning to the match court.

“I’m really happy to be back here in Paris to compete again,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “It’s been a very difficult month for me. I love competing, playing tennis, and straying away from that was distracting for me. [I did] everything that I could do to be 100% and play my best here, and I think I did it today. I’m really happy to show some good tennis again.

“I say it so many times. I love playing in Paris. The energy is something special. Seeing a full crowd in the first round is amazing. I don’t mind if it’s watching me or everyone, but it’s great for tennis to have a lot of people coming to a tournament on day one. I’m trying to make people enjoy it.”

The Murcian added, “I would have loved to play more matches [beforehand], but I don’t need too many to get to 100%. Four matches is too low, I’m not going to lie, but I think I did really good preparation this past two weeks before coming to Paris.”

Alcaraz continued to speak about the forearm injury in the post-match press conference, revealing that although it is pain-free still plays on his mind.

“I think the arm is 100%. I’m still feeling weird or afraid to hit every forehand,” said Alcaraz. “It’s still in my mind, but I didn’t feel anything after the match, I didn’t feel anything, which is really, really good for me. So I can say it’s fully recovered.”

The two-time Grand Slam champion continued, “Everybody told me that I must go to 100% on every forehand, but I don’t feel as comfortable as before, you know, just to play every forehand and forget my forearm.

“I’m trying to hit as many forehand [shots] as I can 100%, but there are a few of them that I want to, you know, to stay easy, let’s say.”

Alcaraz achieved his best result at Roland Garros last year, reaching the semi-finals before suffering with cramp against eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

And the world No.3 does not appear to have high expectations for the Paris major in 2024, “Honestly, I’m with low expectations coming into this tournament. After the practice week, after this first round, well, the confidence is higher. My expectations probably got higher after today’s match, but let’s see.

“You know, all I can say is I’m feeling great on the court. I feel amazing in this match, so hopefully keep going.”

Alcaraz will look to continue his return to form on Wednesday, when he takes on Dutch qualifier Jesper De Jong in the second round.

Inside the baseline…

It does not get much better than winning a best-of-five set match to the loss of only four games, especially when it is your first match in over three weeks! That being said, it is understandable that Carlos Alcaraz still feels wary about the forearm and its capabilities in perhaps more testing matches to come later on in the tournament.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.