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Alcaraz eases pain concerns, advances in Madrid Open

Carlos Alcaraz expressed relief at playing without pain at the Madrid Open after a recent arm injury disrupted the start of his clay-court season. However, despite being the defending champion, he still has some concerns about his forehand.

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

Alcaraz, who missed the Monte Carlo and Barcelona tournaments due to the injury, has since returned to the court in Madrid. He mentioned that he has slightly adjusted his playing style based on advice from his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, known as “Juanqui.”

“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 No. 3 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.

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