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'I don't need many matches to be my best', says Wolf-tamer Alcaraz

Easy Sunday: Carlos Alcaraz plays a backhand return to J.J. Wolf (EMMANUEL DUNAND)
Easy Sunday: Carlos Alcaraz plays a backhand return to J.J. Wolf (EMMANUEL DUNAND)

Carlos Alcaraz maintained his record of never losing in the first round of a Grand Slam by taming J.J. Wolf at the French Open on Sunday, shrugging off his injury-hit build-up by insisting: "I don't need too many matches to be at my best".

The world number three and reigning Wimbledon champion eased through 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 against Wolf, the 107th-ranked player who entered the main draw as a 'lucky loser' from qualifying.

Alcaraz, 21, who made the semi-finals in 2023 where he was defeated by Novak Djokovic, took his first round record at the majors to 13-0.

The Spaniard next faces either Britain's Jack Draper or Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong.

Alcaraz showed no sign of suffering from the right arm injury which sidelined him from the Rome Open as he coasted to victory on the back of 27 winners and nine breaks of serve.

"I don't need too many matches to be at my best," said Alcaraz.

"I only played four times in Madrid. Of course, I'd have loved to have played more but I don't need many to be at 100%.

"I have practised with a lot of top players in Paris this week and the forearm is feeling better and better."

Alcaraz, who was wearing a protective sleeve on his troublesome right arm, added: "I'm with low expectations coming into this tournament, but after the practice week, after this first round, the confidence is higher. My expectations probably got higher."

Wolf arrived in Paris with just one win on tour all year but he surprised Alcaraz by breaking in the first game.

However that was as good as it got for the 25-year-old as Alcaraz swept the next eight games, setting the tone for the match, before the American managed to hold serve for the first time in the third game of the second set.

Even closing the roof at the end of the second set was of no help to the hapless Wolf who has still to defeat a top-10 player in his career.

Alcaraz repeated his desire to partner Rafael Nadal in the Paris Olympics at Roland Garros later this summer and admitted he has no desire to see his compatriot call time on his career.

"I'm going to be honest. I really want to enjoy as much as I can Rafa's matches here in this tournament and in the next tournaments," said Alcaraz.

Nadal, the record 14-time French Open champion, has a tough first round on Monday when he faces fourth-ranked Alexander Zverev.

"I'm going watch it, that's for sure. If I can come to watch the match here, I will do it.

"But they are rivals, so I can't go with any side, but for sure it's going to be a really good match to watch as a fan."

dj/jc