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Novak Djokovic can increase his world record reign at the top of men’s tennis thanks to Carlos Alcaraz. The 19-year-old pulled out of Monte Carlo Masters due to ‘post-traumatic arthritis in my left hand and muscular discomfort in the spine.’
Alcaraz returned to Spain after two months on the road and it seems his stay will be longer than he had hoped. His management team are taking extra precautions and doubt remains about the timing of his return.
His coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, played down the injury but was non-commital on his return to the court. Alcaraz will be missed in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and it has opened a discussion on his long-term reputation.
After two months abroad, I am happy to return home but sad because I finished my last match in Miami with physical discomfort. After visiting my doctor @drlopezmartinez in Murcia today and being evaluated, I will not be able to go to Monte Carlo to start the clay court tour. pic.twitter.com/UsJzejm1WC
— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) April 4, 2023
Failure to participate has also thrown a spanner in the works at Barcelona Open and Madrid Masters. En route to his success at Flushing Meadows, Alcaraz had added silverware to his ranks at these events. He was supposed to defend his titles but it seems this will not be the case.
Becker gives warning shots
Failure to defend his Miami Open crown has already seen him vacate the world no 1 ranking. Inability to participate in Barcelona and Madrid will see Alcaraz slide down the rankings.
With Djokovic continuing his charge and Medvedev bent on adding world records to his name, getting back into the top three battle will be an uphill task.
Former world no.1 and Monte Carlo Masters winner, Boris Becker hailed Alcaraz’s talents and believes he has everything in his arsenal to dominate men’s future.
Becker did caution the eight-title winner that to become more than a player, a true tennis hero, he will have to go the extra mile. In addition to winning more titles, Alcaraz will have to start defending the titles that he has in his trophy room.
‘’First of all, it’s a very difficult mantle to take over,” Becker said in conversation at CloudFest 2023.
“Federer, Nadal and Djokovic weren’t only tennis heroes, they are sporting heroes. They are cultural icons.
“You talk about the young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz as the next hot thing. He’s amazing, he plays great, he looks good and has the full package as a tennis superstar. But there’s a lot more to it than playing tennis.
‘’You have to come back, you have to defend your titles, you become a representative of your country and you’re getting into boxes you didn’t think existed before.
“We have to be careful. Nobody is perfect and we have to watch that these tennis players are people. And people make mistakes.”
Djokovic to reign in Alcaraz’s unavailability
Alcaraz’s unavailability on the clay court event evens out the tournament plays in favour of Djokovic. The Serbian was not allowed to enter the US for Indian Wells and Miami Open despite making a special appeal.
The Spaniard triumphed in Indian Wells but his reign was short-lived after getting out in the semi-finals of the Miami Open. He took the world no 1 spot after his triumph in California and gave it back to Djokovic after Miami.
Jannik Sinner is apologizing to Carlos for his cramps
Alcaraz: “Go for it. Go for it man. I’ll cheer for you”
This is not a rivalry. It’s a beautiful duel that we will get to watch over & over again
This is friendship 🇪🇸❤️🇮🇹
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) April 1, 2023
In his defeat to Jannik Sinner, Alcaraz did suffer from cramps but battled on in. Eventually, Sinner triumphed in the third set to book his place in the final against Daniil Medvedev.
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