No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz Withdraws from 2023 Australian Open with Leg Injury

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 6, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain Casper returns the ball to Ruud of Norway, during a match for the third place of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

World No. 1 men's tennis player Carlos Alcaraz revealed on Twitter that he will not play in the Australian Open because of a right leg injury suffered during training.

Carlos Alcaraz @carlosalcaraz

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 <a href="https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AustralianOpen</a> ❤️

The 19-year-old Alcaraz broke out in 2022, winning 57 of his 70 singles matches and earning his first Grand Slam title victory at the U.S. Open. Alcaraz was also victorious at the Rio Open, the Miami Open, the Barcelona Open and the Madrid Open.

The Spaniard ended the year as the youngest-ever World No. 1 to cap an ATP season. He's held on to the No. 1 ranking for 16 weeks.

Alcaraz missed the ATP Finals and Davis Cup Finals last year with a torn abdominal muscle and hasn't played competitively since Nov. 4.

Despite the injuries, his dominance last year in winning five titles showcased that he's still on course to become one of the game's titans for the foreseeable future.

He doesn't turn 20 years old until May, but Alcaraz already has wins over tennis legends Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, which were earned back-to-back during his Madrid Open championship run.

At minimum, he should have plenty of time to recover for the next major, the French Open, which starts in May. He's particularly dominant on clay, on which he went 27-4 last season.

The Australian Open will go on without Alcaraz, but the tournament will welcome back Djokovic, who was deported from Australia last year in a visa dispute after he unsuccessfully tried to play in the tournament following his decision to not be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Australia lifted its three-year ban on the star in November, and he'll try to win an unprecedented 10th men's Australian Open title. A major win would give him his 22th Grand Slam men's singles title, tying Rafael Nadal for the most all-time.

Nadal, who won last year's Australian Open, will be back as well. Per James Walker-Roberts of Eurosport, he's set to become the top seed in the men's draw.

This year's men's and women's first-round singles matches are scheduled to start January 16.