World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz is OUT of the Australian Open with a leg injury: Rafael Nadal now top seed

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BREAKING NEWS: World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz is OUT of the Australian Open with a leg injury: Rafael Nadal is promoted to top seed as he seeks back-to-back titles at the grand slam

  • Spanish star injured his right hamstring with an ‘unnatural movement’ at training 
  • The 19-year-old was due to play his first match down under on January 11 
  • Injury comes after he missed time with an abdominal muscle tear in November 

World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz will miss the Australian Open because of a leg injury.

The 19-year-old Spaniard, who won his maiden grand slam title at the US Open in September, revealed he suffered a muscle injury in his right leg during pre-season training.

‘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,’ Alcaraz posted on social media on Friday.

‘It is a hard moment, but I have to be optimistic, recover and look ahead. See you in 2024 Australian Open.’

The 19-year-old had a stellar year in 2022, beating Casper Ruud to take the US Open title

The 19-year-old had a stellar year in 2022, beating Casper Ruud to take the US Open title

Alcaraz explained that he picked up the injury ‘through a chance, unnatural movement in training’ that resulted in him hurting the semimembranosus muscle in his right hamstring. 

Alcaraz’s withdrawal means his countryman, reigning champion Rafael Nadal, will be promoted to top seed for his title defence when the year’s first grand slam gets underway in Melbourne on January 16.

The 19-year-old was sidelined for weeks with a muscle tear in his abdominal wall in early November, preventing him from competing in the ATP finals that month.

Alcaraz missed several weeks of action in November due to an abdominal injury, but returned in time to compete in Abu Dhabi last month (pictured)

Alcaraz missed several weeks of action in November due to an abdominal injury, but returned in time to compete in Abu Dhabi last month (pictured)

He recovered in time to compete at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi last month, where he lost to Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-1.

Alcaraz was due to play his first game in Australia on January 11 at the Tennis Plays for Peace charity event at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, home to the Open.

He had a stellar year in 2022, winning the US Open men’s singles crown and becoming the youngest man to top the end-of-year ATP world rankings.

The teenager’s absence from the Australian Open also follows the retirements last year of women’s title holder Ash Barty, seven-times champion Serena Williams and six-times men’s champion Roger Federer.

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Dual Open winner and fellow former world No.1 Naomi Osaka is also in extreme doubt, having not played since September and not featuring in any of the summer lead-up events in Australia.

The Open draw takes place at Melbourne Park on January 12. 

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