Panatta rips Alcaraz: "I don't know what's wrong with him, he doesn't seem to care"

A former Major winner has, at the same time, praised Jannik Sinner's mentality

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Panatta rips Alcaraz: "I don't know what's wrong with him, he doesn't seem to care"
© Cameron Spencer / Staff Getty Images Sport

Carlos Alcaraz had prepared the season down to the smallest detail, to arrive in perfect condition at the Australian Open 2024. The young Spanish star did not participate in any type of official event, arriving in Melbourne to play his first official tournament of 2024. The same programming speech that Jannik Sinner made. The young Italian reached the final, Carlitos was eliminated (and badly) in the quarter-finals by Alexander Zverev.

In the podcast La Telefonata, hosted by Adriano Panatta together with his friend Paolo Bertolucci, the subject of discussion was Carlos Alcaraz. The winner of the Roland Garros 1976 expressed his thoughts on the Spaniard's dramatic decline, which began as early as the second part of 2023.

Panatta underlined the psycho-physical decline of the Spanish champion, and the current difference with Sinner.

"Alcaraz hasn't evolved, but he's gone a step back. He has a rather bizarre attitude on the court. I don't see him as determined as he was two years ago. He laughs, he jokes, he doesn't seem to care. I don't know what's wrong with him but, in my opinion, he has yet to decide what kind of player he is. In terms of his head he is behind. Sinner is another category and is of the same cloth as Djokovic," explained Panatta.

Alcaraz© Cameron Spencer / Staff Getty Images Sport

Alcaraz will be called upon to make a change of pace to defend the many points at stake in this first part of 2024. The final at the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro lost to Cameron Norrie, the victory at the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells against Medvedev, the semi-final in the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami, the title in the ATP 500 in Barcelona won against Stefanos Tsitsipas and the title in the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid.

The Spaniard, after his victory at Wimbledon against Novak Djokovic, took part in only one final - at the ATP Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, lost against Novak Djokovic - in the last 8 tournaments played.

Carlitos lost in the quarter-finals against Zverev, in a match in which he did not play to the best of his abilities, appearing very tense and foul during the first two sets. The German then lost to Daniil Medvedev who joined Jannik Sinner in the final. The Italian eliminated 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, with the Serbian having not lost in Australia for over 2000 days.

"For the first time Alcaraz showed himself to be human"

Nick Kyrgios went against the trend, compared to Panatta's words. The Australian tennis player, who is currently commenting on the tournament for Eurosport, made interesting statements regarding the match lost by the young Spaniard against Zverev.

"For the first time Alcaraz showed himself to be human, I had never seen him like this. Let's say he wasn't as incredible as he usually is. Credit must also be given to Zverev, he has made an incredible journey to get here and his tennis was impeccable.

He finished the match with 85% of his first balls, he has never had these numbers. Alcaraz was nervous during the match while Zverev appeared calm. He also surprised me with his second serve which seemed quite solid," he said Kyrgios.

Alcaraz© Cameron Spencer / Staff Getty Images Sport

Analyzing the match lost against the German, Carlitos tried to find the positive side of the match.

"I'm grateful to have played great tennis at the end of the third set. At the beginning of the fourth, however, I was not able to express the same level. It was a shame, but I still found a way to break him and stay in the game. I didn't take advantage of my opportunities. I had a lot of ups and downs and didn't serve well. He responded well and it wasn't easy to handle the pressure in my innings. I have to improve and keep working. We will see what happens in the future."

Alcaraz then focused on the expectations of him and the absence of him in his box of Juan Carlos Ferrero. The Spanish coach was unable to follow his student to Australia due to arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

"It was a great tournament for me: I reached the quarterfinals and played great tennis. I'm disappointed and sad about the level expressed today, because I did much better in the previous rounds. I didn't serve with the same percentages as in the other matches. But I leave the tournament happy overall.

The quarter-finals represent a good result, not what I'm looking for and want but it's not bad. I had a lot of confidence before this match. Did Ferrero's absence have an impact? No. I was playing great tennis even without him. I trust the people in my garage in Australia 100%."

Alcaraz Jannik Sinner