Carlos Alcaraz shockingly lost to Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. The loss itself was not incredibly surprising. Zverev is a very good player, after all. But the way Zverev dominated Alcaraz for the better part of three sets, and that Alcaraz seemed incapable of adjusting to Zverev for so long, was.
But post-match, Carlos Alcaraz refused to blame the absence of his coach on the defeat. Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alcaraz's coach, was unable to be in Australia due to a recent knee injury. The issue was that he could not get on a plane to fly from Spain to Australia because the flight might cause the knee to swell. Without Ferrero, Alcaraz appeared clueless about how to fix his Zverev problem until late in the third set.
Even though Alcaraz won the third set in a tie-break, Zverev re-adjusted, confidently playing longer points and focusing on holding serve knowing Alcaraz had to expend more energy to try to come back then Zverev did to hold his lead, and Alcaraz could not make a second adjustment. Zverev won the match 6-1 6-3 6-7(2) 6-4.
Carlos Alcaraz doesn't want to blame coach's absence on loss to Zverev
While speaking to the media after the match, Alcaraz gave credit to Zverev for the victory and deflected any hint that Ferrero's absence was the problem. Alcaraz said, "As I said, I was playing great tennis, you know, without (Ferrero). I had someone that is a pretty good coach as well. I trust him 100 percent, as I said before the tournament began. It didn't affect me at all."
Of course, part of that was what Alcaraz thought about before the tournament. Give him a few days, and he might think about things differently.
Novak Djokovic and Qinwen Zheng get good news
Because of Alcaraz's loss in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic is assured of holding on to his top ATP ranking. Of course, rankings points are weird. Djokovic could have won the Australian Open for the 11th time and still lost rankings ground to Alcaraz due to Djokovic only being able to lose points during the tournament.
Zheng will enter the top 10 rankings on the WTA after her solid run at the Australian Open. She has played consistently solid tennis for two years. Zheng is only 21 years old so there is a very real chance she will become a staple in the top 10 for most of the next decade.