Carlos Alcaraz has been practicing well over the last couple of days as everything is set for the Spaniard to return to action at the Barcelona Open. Alcaraz, ranked at No 2 in the world, was forced to miss the Monte Carlo Masters due to post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in the spine.
“At the moment I have had two training sessions, with Denis Shapovalov and Casper Ruud, and they have gone very well. I need to pick up the pace, play points. There are still a few days left, but for now, I'm doing well," Alcaraz said, via the tournament's Twitter account.
Alcaraz on his mindset in Barcelona
Last year, Alcaraz won his first Barcelona title after beating Pablo Carreno Busta in the final. This year, Alcaraz returns as the defending champion - he is the top-seeded player - as well as the top favorite.
“I love playing in Barcelona, I have very good memories, not only from last year, but also as a child. I'm going to try to avoid the pressure of being a favorite and go out on the court to enjoy. I will think of everything except defending the title," Alcaraz said.
When Alcaraz won Barcelona last year, he was already considered one of the best players in the game.
“Me encanta jugar en el #BCNOpenBS, tengo muy buenos recuerdos, no solo del año pasado, también de pequeño. Voy a intentar evitar la presión de ser favorito y salir a la pista a disfrutar.
Pensaré en todo menos en defender el título” — Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (@bcnopenbs) April 15, 2023
But now, Alcaraz is an even better player. “Since last year I have improved a lot on the mental level, especially on the court. I feel like I read the game better, and that helps me turn things around when things aren't going well.
I always say that tennis is very mental, and that's where I see my leap," Alcaraz said.
In Barcelona, Alcaraz has a first-round bye. After a first-round bye, Alcaraz plays against the winner of the match between Nuno Borges and Ilya Ivashka. It remains to be seen if Alcaraz can defend his Barcelona title this week.
“Desde el año pasado he mejorado mucho a nivel mental, sobre todo dentro de pista. Siento que leo mejor el juego, y eso me ayuda a cambiar las cosas cuando no van bien.
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