Carlos Alcaraz, the world’s second-ranked tennis player, appears to be in a downward spiral ever since he won the Wimbledon title with a stunning 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, victory over Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard, who is only 20 years old, has not won a tournament in several months.

Then came his most catastrophic setback of all time: Alcaraz lost in the first round of the Paris Masters, much to the surprise of many fans.

Alcaraz vs. Safiullin

Alcaraz’s entry in the Paris Masters was highly anticipated, as it was supposed to be his resurgence following his withdrawal from the ATP Swiss Indoors Basel due to his left foot sole’s inflammation and gluteal muscle difficulties.

And, just a few days before the event, Alcaraz was also seen in an intense practice session with his arch-rival Djokovic, adding to the excitement and hope that the two would reprise their dramatic Wimbledon encounter.

But unfortunately, all that hype came to an end after Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin, a player who’s ranked 43 places lower than him, defeated the Spaniard 6-3,6-4.

An article from CNN wrote that the setback was difficult for him because he had high expectations for himself this time.

“It’s even more difficult, above all for me, to lose in the first rounds of a tournament that you expect to make the finals or where you expect a lot of yourself, it hurts. It hurts a lot,” Alcaraz said.

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In addition, he also said that after his defeat, he needs to make many improvements in his game.

Via The Tennis Letter: “Right now I’m not in the right time to talk. Honestly after the loss, I have to take some time, you know, before thinking about the next days & what I have to do or what I’m gonna do.. But obviously before the ATP Finals begin, we have time. I just didn’t feel well on the court. A lot of things to improve, a lot of things to practice. I didn’t feel well in the game. I didn’t move well. In the shots, I think I had a good quality of shots. But, you know, physically in the part of movement, I have to improve a lot.”

Alcaraz congratulates opponent

Despite his defeat, Alcaraz greeted Safiullin in the center of the court, shook hands, and even had a conversation with him, during which he was spotted smiling.

In an X post, Alcaraz also congratulated his foe for winning the match, writing, “Congratulations on the victory Roman! 🤝🏻 I am saying goodbye to Paris much sooner than I wanted 🥲 Now it is time to prepare my game for the ATP Finals in Turin!”

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