Carlos Alcaraz said on Monday he was not yet at “100 percent” as he prepares to return from injury this week at the Paris Masters, despite enjoying a practice session with rival Novak Djokovic.
The Spanish star has not played since the Shanghai Masters earlier this month due to lower back and left foot injuries.
But the Wimbledon champion is fit enough for a tilt at a first Bercy title, ahead of next month’s ATP Finals in Turin.
“I’m not going to say that I’m 100 percent because it could be a lie,” Alcaraz told reporters.
“At this time of the year, after a long year, I think almost every player has a little bit of problems in their bodies.
“I’m feeling in that way. I’m feeling a little bit of pain, but I had a really good recovery these weeks. I’m coming here feeling well enough to do a good result here.”
Second seed Alcaraz will be among the favourites in the French capital, despite failing to get past the quarter-finals in his two previous appearances. World number one Djokovic and in-form pair Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev are expected to be his main rivals.
The 20-year-old Spaniard retired injured from his last-eight match with Holger Rune 12 months ago, after a third-round loss to home player Hugo Gaston in 2021.
“I’m really excited to play this tournament. I just said I have not great memories, but I am trying to forget everything that happen the years before,” Alcaraz said.
“I’m not thinking about what happened last year and 2021. I’m just focusing on this one.”
Djokovic is chasing a seventh Paris Masters title after losing to Rune in last year’s final.
The only Grand Slam trophy the Serbian star failed to win this year was at Wimbledon where he suffered an epic five-set defeat in the final against Alcaraz.
“I think it was the best way to get ready for this tournament, practise with the best one,” said Alcaraz of his session with Djokovic.
“We spoke before coming here to Paris and we talk about if we can practise one day. It happened yesterday (Sunday). He won... Hopefully just for practice.”
Alcaraz will face Roman Safiullin in his opening match after the Russian beat France’s Alexandre Muller 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in the first round.
- Allowing Indian-origin players to represent tricolour would be huge help for Indian football: Igor Stimac
- Australian Open 2024: Sinner comes through Khachanov test to reach quarterfinals
- NZ vs PAK, 5th T20I: Pakistan beats New Zealand by 42 runs to avoid series sweep
- Ranji Trophy Live Score, Round 3 Day 3 update:Tamil Nadu enforces follow-on vs Railways; Karnataka takes 100-run lead vs Goa
- IND vs ENG, 1st Test: Michael Atherton predicts an Indian win, says India spinners better than England