Carlos Alcaraz delivers ‘complicated’ verdict about his battle with ‘favourite’ Jannik Sinner

Shahida Jacobs
Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz chat
Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz at the net

Carlos Alcaraz says he would love to stop Jannik Sinner from winning more titles, but the world No 3 acknowledges it is one of the toughest tasks in tennis at the moment.

Sinner is the form player on the ATP Tour so far this year as he has won the most titles (Australian Open, Rotterdam Open and Miami Open) and has a win-loss record of 26-2 with his only defeats coming against Alcaraz at the Indian Wells Open and against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Alcaraz, by contrast, is 17-4 with only one title to his name as he went all the way at Indian Wells.

Sinner’s rise to No 2 in the ATP Rankings means he is the top seed at the Madrid Open following Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal and also the favourite, but defending champion Alcaraz is hopeful he can stop his rival from not only winning the title in Spain, but at other tournaments as well.

“He is not used to playing here in Madrid. He hasn’t participated in this tournament since 2022 and in general he hasn’t played much here,” the two-time Grand Slam winner said.

“I don’t know how he will adapt to the altitude but his first shift was impressive. Obviously, in every tournament he plays, he is one of the favourites to win.

“I will try to play my best tennis and not let him win any more titles (smiles), but at the moment things are quite complicated.”

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The pair have enjoyed an incredible rivalry in recent years as their head-to-head record is all square at 4-4 with their last four matches coming in semi-finals.

Alcaraz will continue his title defence against Jan-Lennard Struff – the man he beat in last year’s final – in the fourth round on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old has struggled with a forearm injury in the build-up to the tournament, but two matches in and he seems to be improving.

“I am feeling very well, I am moving in a very good way, my forearm is not causing problems, we are improving,” he said.

“Those thoughts continue about how it’s going to go, it’s going to take a while for them to go away. It’s what we are focused on and thinking about every day. From the level I am at, I see myself with the possibility of continuing to advance.”

He added: “I’m not going to say that I am playing at a low percentage, but in a different way. We are all used to seeing me hit my forehand at 200%, and many times Juanki [coach Juan Carlos Ferrero] tells me that it is not necessary that much, that we have to relax and move my hand forward. And that’s what I’m doing now.

“It is a forehand that is close to 100%, I am happy with the way I am playing, the ball runs, which is what we have been working on for a long time.”