Alcaraz hasn’t regained full trust in forehand

Carlos Alcaraz said he is playing pain-free at the Madrid Open following an arm injury that derailed the start of his claycourt season but the defending champion still has some lingering doubts about his forehand.

The 20-year-old successfully defended his Indian Wells title last month and then reached the Miami Open quarter-finals before injuring his right forearm during a practice session in Monaco.

Alcaraz, who missed the Monte Carlo and Barcelona tournaments before making a comeback in Madrid, said he had tweaked his style slightly on the advice of his coach “Juanqui” – Juan Carlos Ferrero.

“When I want to hit a forehand hard, I’m asking myself how the arm will react. It’s there in my mind,” the world number three said after beating Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-3 6-3 in the third round on Sunday.

“Juanqui tells me to go with a relaxed hand and that’s what I do.

“I still don’t trust 100% the forearm. I have doubts, it’s just in my head. I love competing, so from time to time I want to go hard and I think about it.

“I can’t say that I play at a lower percentage, I play differently. You’re used to seeing me push my forehand to 200% several times in matches. Juanqui tells me I don’t need to go that far.

“I’m happy with my game and with the ball’s trajectory. I’m moving well, feeling good and I have no pain. I just need time to let these thoughts go away.”

The second-seeded Spaniard, who is seeking a third straight trophy in Madrid ahead of next month’s French Open, next plays Jan-Lennard Struff in a rematch of last year’s title clash. – Reuters

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