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Carlos Alcaraz to miss Australian Open

Carlos Alcaraz

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Winner Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates during the men’s final trophy ceremony on day 14 of the US Open 2022, 4th Grand Slam event of the season at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2022 in Queens, New York City. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

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Top-ranked tennis player Carlos Alcaraz will miss the Australian Open that starts in nine days due to a right leg injury, according to his social media.

“When I was at my best in preseason, I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training,” was posted on Alcaraz’s accounts. “This time it’s the semimembranosus muscle in my right leg. I’d 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.”

Alcaraz, a 19-year-old Spaniard, won the last major, September’s U.S. Open, becoming at 19 the youngest men’s Grand Slam champion since Rafael Nadal‘s first title at the 2005 French Open. He also became the first teenage man to be ranked No. 1 in the world since ATP rankings began in 1973.

Alcaraz last played on the ATP Tour on Nov. 4, retiring from a match due to an abdominal muscle tear. The next day, he said the estimation was that he needed six weeks to recover.

He returned for a Dec. 17 exhibition in Abu Dhabi and was to make his 2023 debut next week in an exhibition event in Melbourne, which hosts the Australian Open from Jan. 16-29.

Novak Djokovic, a record nine-time Australian Open champion, is the favorite going into Melbourne. Djokovic missed last year’s Australian Open and U.S. Open because he chose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Nadal, the defending Australian Open champion, is the men’s record holder with 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Djokovic is at 21.

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