Alcaraz: I'm not one of the favourites for Wimbledon

By Sports Desk June 23, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz does not believe he should be considered among the favourites to win Wimbledon given his lack of experience playing on grass. 

The teenage Spaniard is enjoying a breakout season, having won a pair of ATP Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid and picked up further silverware in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. 

Alcaraz has been seeded fifth for just his second main-draw appearance at Wimbledon. Last year, he beat Yasutaka Uchiyama in five sets before falling to a straight-sets defeat against Daniil Medvedev. 

They are Alcaraz's only ATP Tour-level matches on grass, so his main focus heading to the All England Club is to simply improve his feel for the surface. 

"I don't mind being in the spotlight, I don't see it as pressure, but I've seen that I'm considered one of the favourites for Wimbledon. I don't see it that way at all," Alcaraz told the Spanish media. 

"There are many players who play better than me on grass. [Novak] Djokovic, Rafa [Rafael Nadal], [Matteo] Berrettini... We are going to try to gain experience on this surface. 

"Knowing how to move well on grass is very important. I think it's the key to being able to get good results. We're trying to improve in mobility and the small details that are more important on this surface. 

"Being more aggressive, trying to take advantage of the fact that I volley well – those things." 

Alcaraz is playing an exhibition tournament at Hurlingham this week and lost his opening match against Frances Tiafoe 6-4 6-2 on Thursday. 

The world number seven has been struggling with an elbow issue, but experienced no discomfort during his defeat. 

"A week ago, I couldn't train at all," he added. "I came here unsure if I was going to be able to play normally.

"The days I've been able to train I've felt quite well – zero pain in the elbow – and today there was no pain in the match with Tiafoe."

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Rybakina vows to enjoy Open Era first in women's final Wimbledon: Rybakina vows to enjoy Open Era first in women's final

    Elena Rybakina is determined to enjoy herself after setting up a groundbreaking Wimbledon final against Ons Jabeur.

    Rybakina had not won a single grass-court semi-final prior to Thursday's match against Simona Halep, but she rose to the occasion in a stunning 6-3 6-3 win.

    While the Kazakh said she was "quite nervous", it did not show as she forged nine break point opportunities – including in each Halep service game of the first set – and faced just one.

    Rybakina's serve was similarly effective, with five aces and no double-faults; Halep had no aces and nine double-faults.

    "It was really, really good," the victor said. "Usually, I have ups and downs. But I think today I was mentally prepared, and I did everything I could, and it was an amazing match."

    Now, attention turns towards facing Jabeur, with both women playing their first major finals.

    It will be the first time in the Open Era the women's singles final at the All England Club will be contested between two players who have not played a championship match at a grand slam before.

    The stakes are only getting higher for Rybakina, but she is relishing the opportunity.

    "I think it's going to be a great match," she said. "I'm going to try to do my best, but I'm going to enjoy it. I've already done a lot; it's time to enjoy the final."

  • Wimbledon: 'We'll give Djokovic a set' – Cameron Norrie's college tennis coach predicts semi-final upset Wimbledon: 'We'll give Djokovic a set' – Cameron Norrie's college tennis coach predicts semi-final upset

    Cameron Norrie can thrive as an underdog against Novak Djokovic and cause a sensation in Friday's Wimbledon semi-final, according to a former coach of the British star.

    Ninth seed Norrie has battled through to a showdown with 20-time grand slam winner Djokovic, who had to come from two sets adrift to beat Jannik Sinner at the last-eight stage.

    Their clash will be first on Centre Court on Friday, with Norrie bidding to follow in the recent footsteps of Andy Murray, Britain's last men's singles champion at the All England Club.

    Djokovic is riding a 26-match unbeaten run at Wimbledon into the match, as the top seed bids to move a step closer to a fourth consecutive title at the tournament.

    Yet the lower-ranked man can win, and he could even do it with a set to spare, according to Mexican David Roditi, head coach of the Texas Christian University's tennis team, with whom Norrie honed his talent as a youngster.

    As well as studying sociology, Norrie's sports scholarship centred on playing for the Horned Frogs team. He spent three years at the university before leaving in 2017 to embark on a professional tennis career.

    Roditi told Stats Perform he expects Norrie to thrive after his battling five-set win over David Goffin last time out.

    "Obviously it's not easy to make Djokovic uncomfortable, not easy to beat him on grass," Roditi said. "What I will say is that this is finally the first time that Cameron gets to play as an underdog.

    "I'm hoping that he's able to loosen up a little bit, be a little bit more aggressive, be able to go after him a little bit more than he was able to in the quarter-finals.

    "I could feel he was not comfortable during that match [against Goffin]. He knew it was a great opportunity. So that underdog mentality has usually worked out well for Cameron. And I'm hoping that that's exactly what happens. And then once you get into the physicality of the game, and I think the longer this match goes, the better chances are for Cameron."

    Looking at a prediction for the contest, Roditi said: "Oh, Cameron, it's got to be all Cameron. It's got to be him. So I'm saying Cameron in four sets? Wow. We'll give Djokovic a set. And well, then Cameron can win in four sets."

    Roditi said there was "so much pride and so much excitement" being felt in Fort Worth at seeing Norrie grow into an elite performer on the world stage.

    The 26-year-old won the Indian Wells Masters last year, the biggest achievement of his career until this fortnight.

    Roditi says he always saw world-class potential in Norrie.

    "There's no doubt he was head and shoulders above your typical 18-year-old coming in: extremely competitive, always willing to do the extra work physically," Roditi said. "He would go for long runs on his own, and so his endurance level is tremendous. It's great for him and his five-set matches – that showed in the quarter-finals.

    "What I will say is that there was nothing he couldn't accomplish, [nothing] that we would ever be shocked or surprised [by]. He's always been able to defeat the odds and do more than anybody would expect of him.

    "It's scary to think about what would happen if he wins this match. I think at this point anything's possible."

  • Wimbledon: Rybakina roars into first slam final with stunning upset of Halep Wimbledon: Rybakina roars into first slam final with stunning upset of Halep

    Elena Rybakina overpowered former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep 6-3 6-3 in the last four on Thursday to reach her first major final at the All England Club.

    Rybakina is playing in the main draw in SW19 for only the second time, having debuted in 2021.

    Yet the Kazakh looks every bit as accomplished on the London grass as the esteemed Halep, who had not lost at Wimbledon since 2018, taking the title in 2019.

    Indeed, the Romanian met her match in Rybakina, who forged nine break point opportunities in a dominant display, aided by a flawless serve as Halep gave up a costly nine double-faults.

    Despite being one of the game's great returners, Halep found herself on the back foot right from the outset.

    She faced break points in each of her four service games in the opener, with a rampant Rybakina decisively seizing the first of them as she dictated play from the back of the court.

    Rybakina's power continued to cause problems for Halep, although a trio of double-faults – including to both set up and secure the break point – were to blame as the first-time semi-finalist was gifted an early lead again in the second set.

    That advantage was cancelled out in similarly generous fashion, with four straight unforced errors seeing Rybakina unexpectedly broken to love.

    However, normal service was swiftly resumed as Rybakina won a sublime rally to tee up another break, and there was time for one final flourish as a sensational return from the 23-year-old left Halep rooted and wrapped up victory in 77 minutes.

    Data slam: Simona's semi-final struggles

    Losing at Wimbledon may have been an unfamiliar feeling for Halep after 12 straight wins at the tournament, including 10 in straight sets, but she is becoming all too accustomed to failing in the last four.

    Excluding walkovers, this was the Romanian's fourth consecutive semi-final defeat. For Rybakina, it was a first win at this stage of any tournament on grass.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Rybakina – 13/16
    Halep – 16/15

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Rybakina – 5/0
    Halep – 0/9

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Rybakina – 3/9
    Halep – 1/1

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.