Carlos Alcaraz has hit out at the Madrid Masters scheduling after finishing his opening match late on Tuesday night. The world No 9 is one of the favourites for the title after winning another recent home tournament in Barcelona and had also played the doubles competition for the first time this week.
Alcaraz admitted his late-night singles match was “not ideal” while also playing the doubles in the same tournament for the first time. The teenage sensation, who turns 19 today, defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 7-5 in a match that ended after midnight during Tuesday’s night session, and has once again been giving night billing for his third-round against Cam Norrie.
“Obviously I would prefer to play earlier because now, between one thing and another, I will go to bed very late,” the four-time title winner said after his first singles match. “For recovery it is not ideal. I prefer to play earlier.”
And the late finish did appear to affect the Spaniard’s doubles results, as he and partner Marc Lopez lost their second-round match to Neal Skupski and Wesley Koolhof 6-3 3-6 10-7. While the 19-year-old was frustrated with his late finish, he was grateful to the home fans who spurred him on to clinch the victory.
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The seventh seed in Madrid also shared how he dealt with playing in front of a home crowd, adding: “It is not easy to play at home, there is a lot of expectation, many people who want you to do well, but I am a guy who changes things and I take it as an extra motivation. Playing at home and with your people, in those difficult moments everything helps you to move forward.”
Alcaraz will now face the ninth-seeded Brit Norrie in the third-round for a place in the quarter-finals. If both he and Rafael Nadal can win their matches on Thursday, they will face off in the last eight on Friday. Last year, on Alcaraz’s 18th birthday, he faced Nadal for the first time and lost 6-1 6-2 after getting his maiden Masters 1000 match-win over Adrian Mannarino in the first round as a wildcard.