Seemingly the only player who was able to beat Carlos Alcaraz in recent months was Novak Djokovic and Fabian Marozsan, of course. Credit where it's due. The Serbian, however, will be skipping over Toronto this year, electing to play at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati instead.
It's an interesting choice for Djokovic, who will be back on US soil for the first time since 2021, but it's likely rooted in the fact that he doesn't need to prepare much. With his absence, much of the favoritism falls into the lap of Carlos Alcaraz.
The number one player on the ATP Tour will be the top seed at the event and the one most likely to go all the way, even though his experience last year was a bit disappointing. Different city and different courts will likely benefit him, but we'll see in time.
The return to the courts happened back home in Spain at the Tennis Academy of Juan Carlos Ferrero near Alicante. It's the same region where Alcaraz is from, as his hometown of El Palmar is some 120 km away. The pairing are likely already Toronto-bound due to the event starting relatively soon.
Alcaraz would want to get in some practice time ahead of the event in order to better prepare himself for the conditions which are going to be quite different from those in Spain. From a rather dry warmth to a rather humid one.
The photos from the Academy showed him with a shorter haircut than he had during Wimbledon though it's not the first time we saw it. He sported a similar cut at the Hopman Cup, but it was a bit shorter.