The Australian Open is just around the corner. The first Slam of the year will be held from January 16 to 29 and several players will compete for the coveted trophy. The sudden retirement of Carlos Alcaraz has completely changed the race for the top spot in the ATP rankings.
During one of his last training sessions before leaving for Melbourne, the Spaniard strained the semimembranosus muscle in his right leg trying to retrieve a short ball. Alcaraz checked his condition, but quickly realized that he could not continue.
Subsequent instrumental examinations revealed the extent of the injury and forced the current world number one to raise the white flag before the Australian Slam. Alcaraz will lose the 90 points he earned in 2022 by reaching the third round and will not have a chance to improve his ranking.
In order not to abandon the top of the world ranking, the Spaniard will have to cling to the results of his three direct rivals: Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic. Alcaraz would remain number one in the event that Ruud does not reach the final and a player other than Tsitsipas and Djokovic wins the tournament.
For the Norwegian, stuck at number three, it would be enough to reach the final and not challenge the Greek or the Serbian. If he were to win the first Major, he would be sure to look down on everyone on January 30th.
Mats Wilander pays tribute to Alcaraz
Increasingly presenting a few days before the start of the Australian Open, Mats Wilander, star consultant for Eurosport, had very strong words regarding the future of Carlos Alcaraz in this sport.
Until eclipsing Federer, Nadal and Djokovic? “For me, seeing Alcaraz win the US Open was the most exciting tournament I’ve seen in over 20 years working in television or media as an analyst. I said I thought if Alcaraz kept winning – and I even said this privately to [Alcaraz’s coach] Juan Carlos Ferrero – he could become the most important tennis player we’ve ever had in our sport.
People are going to say to me, ‘What do you mean? Isn’t Roger Federer…? Isn’t Rafael Nadal…? Yes, they are absolutely, incredibly important. But here you have a guy who tries so hard, he’s so quick, he plays with so many different shots, he can serve and volley at 15-30.
He is only 19 ! He hits drop shots at 15–30, he’s 19! Then he dives in, and at the end he smiles and he laughs.”