Carlos Alcaraz: Spaniard casts doubt on Madrid Open title defence due to arm injury | Tennis News

Carlos Alcaraz has cast doubt on his Madrid Open title defence later this month as the Spaniard nurses a right arm injury that has forced him to miss key tune-up events for the French Open.

The 20-year-old successfully defended his Indian Wells title last month and then reached the Miami Open quarter-finals before sustaining the injury in his first practice session for the Monte-Carlo Masters.

The two-times Grand Slam champion was unable to play in the Principality and then had to pull out of this week’s Barcelona Open – live on Sky Sports.

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Alcaraz says Grigor Dimitrov made him feel like he’s ’13 years old’ after his shock defeat in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday, a day after he decided not to defend his title.

“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

“I can’t say I’ll be 100 per cent in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match… It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Should Alcaraz be unable to recover in time for the April 24-May 5 tournament in Madrid, he could still get some clay-court action in ahead of the French Open by competing in Rome the following week.

The main draw at the year’s second Grand Slam at Roland Garros begins on May 26 where Alcaraz reached the semi-finals last year.

Sabalenka ready to conquer the clay in Stuttgart

Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa at the Miami Open
Aryna Sabalenka will meet her good friend Paula Badosa in Stuttgart

Aryna Sabalenka said her clay-court preparations are in full swing ahead of the WTA event in Stuttgart.

The Australian Open champion has endured a difficult time after the apparent suicide of her former boyfriend, Konstantin Koltsov, as she was gearing up to play in the Miami Open last month.

Last year’s Roland Garros semi-finalist told reporters she started her clay preparations straight after Miami.

“Stuttgart is a good place to start the clay season,” she said.

“You’re slowly getting into this ‘clay mood’, sliding, playing long rallies. I like to play lots of tournaments before the Grand Slam, so I think it’s a good one to start with.”

Sabalenka, who has finished runner-up in the previous three years at Stuttgart, meets good friend Paula Badosa on Wednesday in a rematch of the pair’s second-round Miami meeting.

Defending champion Iga Swiatek said she too is steadily making the switch to the slower surface, having guided Poland into the Billie Jean King Cup Finals last week.

“I felt today that I can do the transition pretty quickly,” said the top-ranked Swiatek.

“I’m not expecting that I’m going to feel comfortable from my first match because you always need some matches to just gain confidence on any surface, even if you feel comfortable on it.”

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Badosa says Sabalenka showed her mental strength in their Miami Open clash – her first match since the death of her former boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov

‘I am back in business’ – Halep on her return to tennis after doping ban ‘baggage’

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Simona Halep says she’s ‘back in business’ after her Miami return from a doping ban, but believes the ‘baggage’ will stay with her for some time

Simona Halep admits there is baggage following her doping ban from tennis but she is relieved and happy to be “back in business”.

Halep, who recently returned to competition at the Miami Open, her first tournament since 2022, delayed her return to the clay courts after pulling out of the Oeiras Ladies Open in Portugal.

The two-time Grand Slam champion was handed a four-year ban for two doping charges last year. She appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which threw out one of the charges and reduced her ban to nine months, allowing her to start playing immediately.

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