World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz has officially pulled out of the 2023 Australian Open following another injury blow.
Alcaraz - who had been limited by an abdominal tear in 2022 - revealed on Twitter that he is now facing time away from the game due to an injury in his 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 ❤️— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) January 6, 2023
He will also not be participating in the Kooyong Classic (Jan 12-14).
The 19-year-old last played a professional match in October during the Paris Masters but was forced to retire in the quarter-finals.
Alcaraz’s season was over due to the abdominal injury which put an end to an extraordinary run from the Spaniard.
Alcaraz’ breakthrough win at the 2022 US Open made him the youngest men’s champion at the event since Pete Sampras in 1990 and the youngest world No.1 in the history of the ATP rankings, breaking Lleyton Hewitt’s record.
The victory was off the back of some impressive performances at previous Grand Slams, where he fell during the third round of the Australian Open, made the quarter finals at the French Open and fourth round at Wimbledon.
Alcaraz’s disappointing injury has hindered his excitement for the 2023 season, which has now been put on the back foot.
Heading into the new year, the 19-year-old was ‘prepared’ for the pressure surrounding the No.1 ranking.
“I have to be prepared for that, the pressure. The people, the players as well, are going to have all their eyes on me and I’m going to have to be prepared for that,” he explained in Abu Dhabi last month where he was beaten by top 10 rivals Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev.
“Probably it’s going to help me a little bit to try not to think about the people, the expectations, and the ranking, and that kind of stuff.
“I’m just going to see myself better, trying to push myself to a high level. Right now I’m focused on myself, on recovering my level.”
Ironically, Alcaraz’s absence will make for consecutive years where the world no.1 will not feature, given Novak Djokovic also missed last year’s Australian Open.
Now TAB have Djokovic as the raging favourite to take home an incredible and record-breaking 10th Australian Open trophy.
2022 Australian Open Champion Rafael Nadal will have his hands full with the return of the Serbian and the presence of last year’s finalist Daniil Medvedev.