Alcaraz responds after reading interview with his own coach criticising him

Carlos Alcaraz has responded to criticism he received from his coach after reading one of his interviews. Earlier this week, Juan Carlos Ferrero said that his charge needed to learn that the tennis season was 11 months long and that he couldn’t let his form drop as time went on. The world No 2 has since gone out of his way to find his coach’s comments and said that they “couldn’t be more true”.

Alcaraz’s incredible 2023 season came to an end on Saturday night as he lost to Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 in the semi-final of the ATP Finals. After an impressive start to the year that saw him win six titles – including his second Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon – Alcaraz failed to lift another trophy from August onwards.

He then ended up on a three-match losing streak for the first time since March 2021, spanning defeats in the round of 16 at the Shanghai Masters, his opening match at the Paris Masters and his first round-robin tie at the ATP Finals. Alcaraz later attributed his dip in form to mental fatigue while his coach explained that his charge still had to learn to deal with the lengthy tennis season.

“I think that professionally he has to start learning that the world of tennis is from January to November,” Ferrero told Marca. “He has to take his breaks, but this is a wheel, which continues, and it is a job and it is what you have to do.” Alcaraz has now confessed to his coach’s comments, conceding that he was correct.

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“A few days ago I read an interview in which Juan Carlos said that I had to learn that the season is from January to November,” the 20-year-old said, per the ATP. “That couldn’t be more true.”

Alcaraz is now hoping to learn from his mistakes as he looks to the 2024 season. He added: “Maybe I struggled to handle the last part of the season. As I said, I have so many things to improve on, and that’s one of them. Learning that a tennis player’s season doesn’t end in June, August and September, it carries on until November.”

The world No 2 has contested 77 matches this year across 17 tournaments but he didn’t think that was much, admitting he should have gotten to the latter stages more often. It’s something that wasn’t much of a problem in the first half of the season, though there were more early exits than he would have liked in the back-end of the year.

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“I don’t think that’s a lot,” Alcaraz said. “I think I’m one of the players who has played the fewest tournaments, although probably one of the ones with the most matches. The statistic is good, but the truth is that I would have liked to finish with more matches. That would have meant reaching the latter rounds in the events at the end of the season.”

He will now look to do just that in 2024 as he is expected to start next season at the Australian Open. Alcaraz hasn’t played in the Melbourne Grand Slam since 2022 as injury forced him to withdraw at the start of this year.

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