Carlos Alcaraz's early exit at Queen's Club might be blessing in disguise

Alcaraz got surprisingly bounced out of the Cinch Championships early, but that could be a good thing.
Carlos Alcaraz at Cinch Championships
Carlos Alcaraz at Cinch Championships / Luke Walker/GettyImages

Don't look now, tennis world, but 22-year-old Jack Draper might be a real threat at Wimbledon. Draper will be ranked in the 20s for the first time in his career when the new ATP rankings come out on Monday. He is fresh off a win at the Stuttgart 250, but he doubled down on that effort by taking Carlos Alcaraz out in the second round of the Cinch Championships in straight sets.

The match, which Draper won 7-6(3) 6-3 was not without drama. The tournament is trying out a new 25-second serve clock where the clock begins at the end of the last point. This means players need to hurry up and get to the service line for the next point. That did not appear to bother Draper but certainly did Alcaraz.

After the match, the normally non-confrontational Alcaraz told reporters, "(The chair umpire) told me that there is a new rules, this new thing, that the clock never stop. After the point is finished, the clock is putting on. I think for the player is something bad. I mean, I finish the point at the net, and I had no time to ask for the balls. I mean, I’m not saying to go to a towel and taking my time...It’s crazy. I have time just to ask for two balls and no bounces."

Carlos Alcaraz should easily brush off Cinch Championships loss to Jack Draper

Again, Draper did not have too many issues and adjusted enough to win the match. Alcaraz could not adjust as well and lost.

But the Spaniard should probably take the loss with some relief. He recently won the French Open and winning a major takes a lot of effort over two weeks and playing a lot of matches, of course, and while he hasn't gotten much work on tennis in 2024, few players have. Plus, Alcaraz knows he can win Wimbledon because he did in 2023.

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Wimbledon starts on July 1. Alcaraz has already struggled through some injuries this year, including an aggravating forearm issue that forced him to withdraw from the Italian Open, and having a week off before Wimbledon is likely not a bad thing. He didn't have much preparation ahead of the French Open and won that tournament so there should be no issues at Wimbledon.

A rested Alcaraz is a dangerous Alcaraz. He should be the favorite to capture to win his second straight at the grass-court major. The way Jack Draper is playing currently, he could be the Spaniard's greatest threat at the event.

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