Alcaraz in Abu Dhabi in December. / reuters

Carlos Alcaraz to miss the Australian Open due to injury

The world number one picked up an injury in training and won’t be able to play in the first Grand Slam of the season

ENRIC GARDINER

World tennis number one Carlos Alcaraz will miss out on the first Grand Slam of the year after picking up a leg muscle injury in training this week.

The blow came just days before the start of the Australian Open and as the 19-year-old was looking to complete a successful pre-season after a separate injury hampered his end to 2022.

The youngster from Murcia, who won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open in September, missed the ATP finals in Turin and the Davis Cup finals in Malaga due to a torn abdominal muscle during the last Masters 1000 of 2022 at Paris-Bercy.

“I’ve worked so hard to get to my best level for Australia but unfortunately I won’t be able to play the Care A2+ Kooyong or the Australian Open. It’s tough, but I have to be optimistic, recover and look forward. See you in 2024 @australianopen,” the Spaniard wrote on social media.

Djokovic, looming over his shoulder

Alcaraz’s absence in Melbourne will put his privileged position at number one in jeopardy. The Spaniard is 1,050 points ahead of second-placed Rafael Nadal but, as reigning champion, he cannot make any further gains in this tournament.

However, the same cannot be said of Novak Djokovic, who didn’t participate last time out because of his deportation. The Serbian is 1,910 points behind Alcaraz and would overtake him if he wins his tenth title at the Rod Laver Arena.

That said, if Alcaraz’s injury heals as planned, the young tennis star will return at the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro, a tournament he won last year and which runs from 20 to 26 February.