Carlos Alcaraz had few complaints about how he struck the ball during his surprise opening-round loss to Roman Safiullin at the Rolex Paris Masters on Tuesday night. But his movement?That’s another story.
“I just didn’t feel well on the court,” the World No. 2 said. “A lot of things to improve, a lot of things to practise. I didn’t move well. In the shots, I think I had a good quality of shots. But physically in the part of movement, I have to improve a lot.”
Alcaraz, who was forced to pull out of Basel due to problems with his left foot and lower back, was competing for the first time since his defeat to Grigor Dimitrov 20 days ago in the Shanghai last 16.
Alcaraz’s let slip an early break of serve in both sets during his 6-3, 6-4 defeat to the World No. 45 in their first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting. But having seen Safiullin’s dramatic rise from outside the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since early May, the Spaniard said that he expected a tough fight against the Wimbledon quarter-finalist.
“He didn’t surprise me at all, because I knew that he has been playing a great level these last few months, beating big guys, reaching finals. I knew that he was going to play a high level,” he said.
Alcaraz slipped to 63-10 on the year, a match record that is still better than his 57-13 season that saw him finish last year as the ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone. He has won six titles across all three surfaces, including Wimbledon and ATP Masters 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Madrid.
The 20-year-old is next scheduled to play at the Nitto ATP Finals (12-19 November), where he will make his debut after missing last year’s event in Turin due to injury. He has almost two weeks to retool his game and find his movement working with coach Juan Carlos Ferrero.
“I have time before the ATP Finals, a lot of days of practice to be able to reach that level, the level that I want to play,” he said. “Honestly after the loss, I have to take some time before thinking about the next days… But obviously before the ATP Finals begin, we have time.”