Carlos Alcaraz handed a major boost in ATP Finals draw as he looks to beat injury worries

Kevin Palmer
Carlos Alcaraz in action
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates

Carlos Alcaraz was always going to avoid Novak Djokovic in the group stage draw for the ATP Finals, but he will be privately relieved to avoid an early meeting with Italy’s Jannik Sinner.

World No 2 Alcaraz has been drawn in Group B alongside Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev.

While he doesn’t have a winning record against any of those three opponents, the Spaniard will be hopeful of making progress in Turin if he can get back to somewhere near his best form.

Italian Sinner handed Alcaraz his most comprehensive defeat of the year in China last month, with the Wimbledon champion admitting after the game that he needed to make improvements to his game to beat the Italian.

The earliest he could not meet Sinner in a match that would be played in front of a raucous Italian home crowd will be the semi-finals, but Alcaraz will need to up his game from what he has shown in the last month if he is to get that far in his first appearance at the ATP Finals.

He lost to Sinner and Grigor Dimitrov on an unsuccessful trip to China and was then beaten by world No 45 Roman Safiullin in the opening round of last week’s Paris Masters.

Alcaraz has also confirmed he is carrying an injury heading into the final regular event of the ATP season after he pulled out of last month’s tournament in Basel with a foot problem.

“I’m not gonna say that I’m 100% because it could be a lie,” said Alcaraz in Paris last week.

“You know, at this time of the year, you know, after a long year, I think almost every player has a little bit of problems in their bodies, you know.

“I’m feeling in that way. I’m feeling a little bit of pain, you know, but I had a really good recovery these weeks.”

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He was also a little downbeat about his physical condition after the defeat against Safiullin in Paris.

“I just didn’t feel well, you know, on the court. A lot of things to improve, a lot of things to practice,” he said after the shock defeat.

You know, I didn’t feel well, you know, in the game. I think I didn’t move well. In the shots, I think I had a good quality of shots.

“But, you know, physically in the part of movement, I have to improve a lot.

“I have time before the ATP Finals, a lot of days of practice to be able to reach that level, the level that I want to play.

“I have to take some time, you know, before thinking about the next days, you know, and the days that what I have to do or what I’m gonna do, you know. Obviously, before the ATP Finals begin, we have time.

“Probably the season has been so, so long. Probably that affects my game, I don’t know.

“I have to figure out and I’ll try to be better in this part of the year.”

Alcaraz missed this phase of the 2022 season due to injury and there are doubts over how his body is holding up as he prepares to play in the ATP Finals for the first time.

The Spaniard will play his first match against Alexander Zverev on Monday in the afternoon session, with the pair sharing a 3-3 head-to-head record ahead of this latest meeting.