Carlos Alcaraz is preparing to return to action on the clay courts of South America, but he has garnered a lot of criticism because of his weakening serve.
The Spaniard has endured his longest title drought on the ATP Tour since he became a top-two player, stretching a little over six months. Since beating Novak Djokovic to win the 2023 Wimbledon Championships, Alcaraz has been to one final since, losing to the Serb in Cincinnati.
Last month, Alcaraz played his first tournament of the new season without his longtime coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, in his corner (he underwent knee surgery and is recuperating) and lost in the quarterfinal stage of the Australian Open to Alexander Zverev in four sets.
Although the result was a definite improvement from 12 months ago when Alcaraz couldn't even travel Down Under due to injury, the knives haven't taken long to come out in response to his game, which many feel has not improved since he rose to become an elite player.
One of the notable weaknesses is his serve, according to former World No. 1 Andy Roddick, who made a scathing admission, stating, "leaves a lot to be desired." The Amerian, who currently works as an analyst for Tennis Channel, boldly explained that the serve has not improved in the past two seasons.
And on Wednesday, celebrated ex-coach of the Williams sisters, Rick Macci, engaged in the discourse on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). The 69-year-old was not overly critical but pointed out the drawbacks that make the Spaniard's serve inferior in comparison to his rivals.
"Asked about the First Serve of @carlosalcaraz as others have been critical. Biomechanically he checks most boxes. But the racquet Leaks 25% too soon into the back. Shoulder set up is microscopically off creating less natural fluidity and not delivering the optimal head speed."
Carlos Alcaraz's next tournament will be the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires, which commences on February 12th. The 20-year-old will be the top seed and is the defending champion at the ATP 250 event. He will look to end his title drought.