Tennis legend identifies reasons behind Carlos Alcaraz’s dip in form as he offers advice

Ewan West
Carlos Alcaraz sitting
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) sits down after injuring his ankle

Tennis legend Jimmy Connors has highlighted the factors he feels are behind the dip in form Carlos Alcaraz is experiencing and offered some advice to the Spaniard. 

The eight-time Grand Slam champion believes injuries have played a role in halting Alcaraz’s progress, while assessing that some players have worked out how to play against him.

Alcaraz has achieved huge success in his short career to date, having claimed two majors and become the youngest player to be ranked ATP world No 1 after winning the 2022 US Open.

The 20-year-old has endured a more challenging period since his superb triumph at the 2023 Wimbledon Championships in July – which was the last title he won. The world No 2 reached his only final since his All England Club victory at the Cincinnati Masters in August.

Following a quarter-final exit to Alexander Zverev at last month’s Australian Open, Alcaraz fell to Nicolas Jarry in the semi-finals of the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires. Alcaraz was then forced to retire during his opening round match at the ATP 500 tournament in Rio last week due to an ankle sprain.

The Spaniard is set to make his return to the court for the ‘Netflix Slam’ exhibition against Rafael Nadal in Las Vegas on March 3. He will then defend his title at the Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells, which will take place from March 6-17.

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Speaking on his Advantage Connors podcast, former world No 1 Connors weighed in on Alcaraz’s recent struggles and suggested he should consider changing his approach.

“At a very young age, he (Alcaraz) has had some pretty damn good success. But, along with that comes some injuries which we know about,” the American said.

“I think some of the players have realised just how to play him or how he plays. What he did so well at the beginning kinda caught them off guard. Maybe they have caught on to that a little bit.

“Maybe he needs to change up a little bit and try to figure out something else. It’s not a big move, it’s just tiny little scratches along the way that maybe he can change to kinda offset his opponents a little bit.

“He might be going through a little bit of a downtime. But, you can see he enjoys the game, he works hard at the game and to continue to be at the top of the game, he is gonna have to stay with that.

“[Jannik] Sinner’s coming up and there is [Holger] Rune. A lot of these guys see that [Roger] Federer’s gone and [Rafael] Nadal might wait through the French and play the Olympics. Who knows what happens, Djoker (Novak Djokovic) still playing.

“All these kids are trying to say, ‘Okay, this could be me now. Could be my turn now.’ They are starting to play like it and they are gonna make it nothing but tougher for each other.”

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