Tennis fans have expressed their sadness after Carlos Alcaraz announced his shock withdrawal from the Australian Open. The World No.1 revealed on Saturday morning that he won't be able to take his place in the grand slam at Melbourne Park due to a leg injury.
The 19-year-old from Spain, who won his maiden grand slam title at the US Open in September, revealed he'd sustained the injury during pre-season training. He said he won't be able to play the Kooyong Classic or Australian Open - starting January 16.
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“It’s time to deal with another blow. When I was at my best in pre-season, I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training," Alcaraz posted on social media.
"I had worked a lot to reach my best level in Australia. Unfortunately I won't be able to play either the Care A2+ Kooyong (warm-up event) or the Australian Open.
"It is a hard moment, but I have to be optimistic, recover and look ahead. See you in 2024 Australian Open."
Fans took to social media to express their sadness and disappointment for Alcaraz. Some described the news as 'gutting' and 'awful'.
Get well soon.🙏🏿
— michael epps (@michael_epps) January 6, 2023
We love you Carlos, please heal quick.
— Gaelen (@GaelenBet) January 6, 2023
sad to hear this but you'll only come back stronger next year!
— N✳️ (@ageofthegeek23) January 6, 2023
Gutted to hear this. Wishing you a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you back on court later in the season
— Jon Phillips (@JonPhil86828440) January 6, 2023
So sad. You have a great career ahead. Take your time you’re so young and very talented. Just take your time and come back stronger.
— Raj Chauhan (@RajChau68552121) January 6, 2023
Gutting, hope you get better soon
— Colleen (@Colleeena) January 6, 2023
Rafa Nadal the top seed after Carlos Alcaraz withdrawal
Alcaraz's withdrawal means countryman Rafa Nadal will now be the No.1 seed at Melbourne Park. Nadal will be back to defend the title he won in 2022 after Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia. Djokovic will also be back in action in Melbourne after a three-year visa ban was waved so he could re-enter the country.
Alcaraz surged to the top of the ATP rankings after a breakout season which culminated in him beating Casper Ruud in the US Open final. However he suffered an abdominal injury at the end of the year which saw him miss the ATP Finals and Davis Cup finals.
The 19-year-old became the youngest male player ever to reach World No.1. He was able to cash in on Djokovic's inability to play the Australian and US Opens due to his vaccination status.
Djokovic also didn't received any rankings points for winning Wimbledon after the All England Club controversially banned players from Russia and Belarus. Former World No.1 Daniil Medvedev wasn't allowed to play the grass-court grand slam as a result, which saw the ATP and WTA tours strip Wimbledon of the ability to award rankings points.
Alcaraz's withdrawal adds to the growing list of stars who will be absent from the Australian Open this year. 2022 champion Ash Barty has since retired, as have grand slam legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
There is also confusion about Naomi Osaka's status given organisers don't even know her whereabouts. The 2019 and 2021 champion isn't scheduled to play any of the lead-up events before the grand slam begins, making it extremely unlikely that she'll be in action at Melbourne Park come January 16.
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