Tennis player Carlos Alcaraz, world number 2, is finalizing his preparation in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2024, which starts this Sunday. To tune him up, the Spaniard has scheduled two exhibition matches, the last of which takes place this Friday, January 12, with Casper Ruud as his rival.

Alcaraz aspires to arrive in the best conditions to what will be his third participation in the Australian Open, a tournament in which to date he has not managed to shine. In his debut on oceanic lands, in 2021, the El Palmar player fell in the second round against the Swede Michael Ymer (5-7 and 3-6), while in 2022 he was eliminated in the third round by the Italian Matteo Berrettini ( 6-2, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 2-6 and 7-6 (5)), in a match that lasted more than four hours and in which Alcaraz came close to a historic comeback. In 2023, he did not play due to injury.

With the aim of sharpening his weapons for the 2024 Australian Open, Carlos Alcaraz planned two demanding preparation matches just a few days before his debut. The first of them took place last Wednesday at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne with the Australian Álex de Miñaur (number 10 in the ranking) as an opponent, a charity duel in which the Murcian was defeated 6-4, 5- 7 (10-3).

His second and last training match will be this Friday, January 12, against Casper Ruud. The 25-year-old Norwegian tennis player is the current number 11 in the ATP ranking and still does not know what it is like to win a match against Alcaraz. The Spaniard has taken victory on the four occasions in which they have faced each other, highlighting the final of the 2022 US Open, a closely contested match (6-4, 2-6, 7-6 and 6-3) of which Alcaraz emerged as the youngest world tennis number 1 in history (he was 19 years old).

The exhibition match between Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud takes place this Friday, January 12, 2024, in Melbourne starting at 8:30 a.m. (Spanish time). The preparatory duel between the Spaniard and the Norwegian can be seen live via streaming through the Eurosport APP.

Carlos Alcaraz is the second seed at the Australian Open, in which the current winner and world number one, Serbian Novak Djokovic, is first. The Spaniard will debut against Richard Gasquet. The Spanish and the French have only faced each other once; It was in the 2021 Umag final, which Alcaraz won 6-2, 6-2 and which marked his first ATP title.

The organization has not yet confirmed the date and time of the Murcian’s first match, although it has already established that the matches corresponding to the first round of the upper part of the men’s draw (where Djokovic is located) will be played between Sunday the 14th and Monday, January 15, while the lower part of the table (where Alcaraz starts) will take place between Monday and Tuesday, January 16. In this way, Alcaraz – Gasquet could be played on the 16th.

You can also outline the path that Alcaraz has ahead of him in case he advances in the tournament. In a hypothetical round of 16, he could face the American Tommy Paul; in the quarterfinals, the German Alexander Zverev and in the semifinals, the Russian Daniil Medvedev. Likewise, it is clear that he avoids the Italian Jannik Sinner and Djokovic until a hypothetical final. We must not forget that the Spaniard has options to regain the number 1 ranking if he becomes champion in Australia.