Carlos Alcaraz believes it’s too early to fight for the Wimbledon title

Carlos Alcaraz feels that this year is too early to fight for the Wimbledon title.

The 19-year-old has established himself as the most exciting young talent in men’s football over the past two seasons and has already won four ATP Tour titles this year, three on clay and one on grass.

He went to the French Open as the main challenger to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but was defeated by Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals.

A problem in his right elbow saw him out of the league easily at Queen’s Club, and it was heavily tied up when Alcaraz played his first game on grass at the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic exhibition at Hurlingham Club on Thursday.

Alcaraz was defeated 6-4 6-2 by the mighty American Frances Tiafoe but gave a positive update on his physical form.

About the strapping, the Spaniard said: “It’s just a precaution. A few weeks ago I had problems, I couldn’t train well. I trained a few times at Wimbledon without pain, here I felt good.

“The first match on grass is never easy, but I had fun out there. Of course, I have more training ahead, a match on Saturday here as well to prepare and reach 100% for Wimbledon.”

Alcaraz will be the fifth seed for Wimbledon, but together with third seed Casper Ruud and fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, he falls into the category of players for whom grass is so far a foreign surface.

Alcaraz played Wimbledon for the first time last summer, losing comfortably in the second round to Daniil Medvedev.

Asked if he could be a candidate on the pitch, Alcaraz said: “I hope so, but I don’t think this year will be my surface. For sure, in the future I can play very well on this surface if I play tournaments before Wimbledon and I think I will feel comfortable playing on this surface.”

Alcaraz has been enjoying his time in London, including meeting up with Tottenham defender Sergio Reguilon.

“He’s a friend of mine,” Alcaraz said. “He told me he will try to watch my game. He’s a good fan.”

French Open runners-up Ruud was also in action at Hurlingham on Thursday and the Norwegian was defeated by Belgian Zizou Bergs, who won a wildcard at Wimbledon by winning the second division Challenger event in Ilkley last week.

Ruud made no secret of his dislike of grass, saying earlier this season that it was a surface for golfers and that he would prepare for Wimbledon by playing golf.

He lost his first match at the Queen’s Club to Briton Ryan Peniston last week before traveling to Italy for a break ahead of their clash at Hurlingham.

Casper Ruud was defeated by Ryan Peniston at the Queen's Club

Casper Ruud was defeated by Ryan Peniston at Queen’s Club (Steven Paston/PA)

Ruud, who has yet to win a match at Wimbledon in the main draw or qualifying, said: “This is my first day on grass since Queen’s because I took a week off.

“I went to Italy to relax a bit because obviously the clay season was too long for me and I played a lot of matches and I didn’t have time to take a lot of time off before going to Queen’s.

“I think it was a pretty good game and I feel more comfortable than I feared, so we’ll see how the next few days go and if I can get a few more hours on the surface. I hope I can at least win one match at Wimbledon this year.”

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