'Zero Feeling With Ball When I Start Matches': Alcaraz On Improvement Area After Zverev Loss

'Zero Feeling With Ball When I Start Matches': Alcaraz On Improvement Area After Zverev Loss

by Nurein Ahmed

Carlos Alcaraz laid the facts bare and vowed to improve on a key area of his game following a quarterfinal exit at the 2024 Australian Open.

Alcaraz, who was among the top three favorites to win the year's first Grand Slam, was sent packing by sixth seed Alexander Zverev. The match was one-way traffic for the most part, although Alcaraz raised his level considerably late in the third set to make it a contest.

Zverev, however, regrouped after blowing a 5-2 lead in the third set and prevailed 6-1, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 in three hours and five minutes. Alcaraz was particularly encouraged by how he fought his way into the match and finished very strongly.

However, he was critical of how he started the match, telling reporters that he needed to work on his serve, mentality, and confidence in the ball at the beginning of his matches.

Those words were certainly true. The first set in the quarterfinal was probably one of his worst. Alcaraz landed just 55% first serves and planted just two winners to 11 unforces errors. He won two points on Zverev's first serve and none on his second.

"I improved a lot but I need to keep improving. In short term it's the most important for me. I have to improve mentally the fact that sometimes I have zero feeling with the ball when I start matches."

His serving numbers improved as the match went on, landing 67% of his serves in the second set and over 70% in the third and fourth sets. Having won two Grand Slams and four Masters 1000s by age 20, it is heartening to see that Alcaraz is not getting carried away by short-term success and aims to improve and refine his game when he returns to Spain.

Alcaraz will hope to have his main coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, with him during the Golden Swing in South America. The former World 1. missed his protege's adventure in Melbourne due to injury after undergoing knee surgery in December and was expected to recuperate at home for at least three months.


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