The Boston Celtics are in “good shape” ahead of the new season under head coach Joe Mazzulla, with Jayson Tatum emphasizing that there is a “freshness” to the upcoming season. All-Stars Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holliday have been added to the lineup, as have assistant coaches Sam Cassell and Charles Lee, who have joined the team behind the scenes. The Celtics will begin their season on the road against the New York Knicks.
Carlos Alcaraz has confirmed he has pulled out of the Swiss Indoors event in Basel through injury.
The Spaniard announced his intention to play in the event for the second year in a row after losing to Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters, but has had to withdraw due to a back issue and after developing a problem with the plantar fascia on his left foot.
Tournament organisers confirmed Stan Wawrinka would replace Alcaraz in the main draw.
“Unfortunately I will not be able to play in Basel this year!” Alcaraz wrote on social media. “I have a problem with the plantar fascia in my left foot and muscle fatigue in my lower back which need treatment so I can play the rest of the season.
“I hope to see you all soon!”
It’s another setback in Alcaraz’s bid to overtake Novak Djokovic in the rankings and end the season as the world No. 1.
The 20-year-old was left to rue “lost opportunities” in the rankings battle after his loss to Dimitrov in China.
That performance brought his Asian Swing to a disappointing end, following his earlier defeat at the hands of Jannik Sinner.
Alcaraz hasn’t won a tournament sinceHead coach Joe Mazzulla has “changed the culture” at Boston Celtics and the team is in “good shape” ahead of the new season, insists Jayson Tatum.
Mazzulla replaced Ime Udoka in September 2022 and won 57 of his 82 games in charge, falling to eighth-seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
However, Tatum insists there is a “freshness” about the upcoming season, with the Celtics recruiting smartly in the off-season, acquiring All-Stars Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday, while assistant coaches Sam Cassell and Charles Lee joined the backroom staff.
“Practice has been hard as s***, I ain’t gonna lie,” Tatum said after Boston earned a 123-111 pre-season victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday.
“We’ve been practicing, a couple two-a-days. But it’s been good.
“We’ve been working hard. The second unit’s been pushing the first unit. We have a lot of competitive days, so guys are excited, guys are in good shape, guys have been working this off-season.
“There’s just a freshness about this season. We’ve got a new staff, new guys on the team, so I think everyone’s just really excited and ready to get going.”
The Celtics are one of the big favourites in the Eastern Conference and having been the best team statistically over the last four years, Tatum clearly feels the team can only improve under their head coach.
Tatum continued: “He’s [Mazzulla] helped change the culture a little bit in a lot of ways, honestly.
he got the better of Djokovic in an epic five-set final at Wimbledon.
The Serbian got his revenge at the Cincinnati Masters before going on to win the US Open after Alcaraz was put out in the semi-finals by Daniil Medvedev.
I feel like he’s left his mark on the team in terms of how he wants us to practice, how he wants the environment to be, and the vibe we create. We’ve all bought in, and Joe has done a great job of taking charge and doing things his way. It’s his team, and it’s been really cool to see.