Carlos Alcaraz has been told that he was “hurt” by losing a tight three-set final against Novak Djokovic at the Cincinnati Open. Since then, the world No 2 has suffered surprise early exits in Shanghai and Paris and his struggles carried into the ATP Finals where he lost his opening match to Alexander Zverev. But Alex Corretja believes the 20-year-old can use the season-ending championships to build a strong foundation for the 2024 season after a disappointing few weeks.
Alcaraz’s woes continued on Monday as he lost in his debut at the ATP Finals, going down 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4 to two-time champion Zverev. The Spaniard is now on a three-match losing streak, crashing out in his opening match at the Paris Masters and losing in the round-of-16 in Shanghai.
He also had some disappointing defeats at the US Open and the ATP 500 in Beijing, losing at the semi-final stage of both events. And one of Alcaraz’s compatriots believes that his marathon Cincinnati Open defeat to Djokovic could be the cause of his recent struggles.
“I think that Cincinnati final against Djokovic where he gave everything he had and ended up losing hurt him a little bit as he gave the biggest effort and he didn’t have the reward,” former world No 2 Corretja told Eurosport. In that final, Djokovic saved a championship point to beat Alcaraz after three hours and 49 minutes.
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The 36-year-old looked down and out when he called the physio to have his pulse checked and receive some medicine. But he stormed back from a set down to win 5-7 7-6(7) 7-6(4). While Alcaraz hasn’t been able to win a title since losing the dogfight Cincinnati final, Corretja still believes that he has had an “incredible” season and can start putting in the work for 2024.
The 49-year-old continued: “He went and won his first major on hard courts, then the biggest major for him on grass at Wimbledon. He just knocked down every barrier that he faced, and I think mentally he is ready.
“Next year is going to be an amazing year for Alcaraz for sure, and we’ll see, because maybe the ATP Finals can give him this extra feeling again of doing something even bigger in 2023.” Corretja won’t be concerned if Alcaraz can’t win the season-ending championships on his debut, however.
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“If that’s not the case, his season will be still huge and great,” he added. “If he finishes winning the ATP Finals, of course that would be like a 10 out of 10, perfect season. If not, he might have a 9.5 out of 10 or 9.75 at least, I would say.”
Despite losing his opening round-robin match to Zverev, the world No 2 can still make it out of the group stage and into the semi-final depending on his results in the rest of the group stage. Alcaraz is in the Red Group alongside Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev.
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