Tennis: injured, Alcaraz on the ground

The Spaniard, injured in his right ankle, was forced to retire in the first round in Rio de Janeiro.

Frustrated in Buenos Aires (eliminated in the semi-finals by the Chilean Nicolas Jarry), Carlos Alcaraz was subsequently forced to retire in the first round in Rio de Janeiro this Wednesday. From the start of the 1st set against the Brazilian Thiago Monteiro, while returning to the baseline, his ankle did not slip, it got stuck, it twisted. At a press conference, the world No. 2 indicated: “The physiotherapists told me they didn’t think it was too serious.â€

Favorite of the tournament, the most important in South America, which he won in 2022, the 20-year-old Spaniard was forced to interrupt the meeting. He showed signs of pain in his right ankle, while the two players were tied one game all.

The Spanish star called a timeout, during which he had his ankle taped before winning the first game.

But, after losing his serve in the second game, he withdrew, which was another setback after a disappointing start to the year.

The two-time Grand Slam winner had a difficult start to 2024, including a four-set defeat against German Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Last week, he lost to the Chilean Nicolas Jarry (21st in the world) in the semi-final in Buenos Aires and has not won an ATP title since his triumph at Wimbledon against the Serbian Novak Djokovic in July last.

Hopes that he could begin to turn things around in Rio – where he lifted the trophy in 2022 – were quickly dashed.

Alcaraz and Monteiro were two points down in the match when Alcaraz twisted his right ankle on the clay court of Jockey Club Brasileiro, where rain had delayed the start of the match for three hours.

Four of the day’s matches were postponed until Wednesday and the first players to take the court on Tuesday played in foggy conditions.

“Not a problem shortâ€

Carlos Alcaraz

The situation had improved by the time Alcaraz and Monteiro clashed and the pitch conditions were not to blame, according to the Spaniard.

“It’s not a problem on the court, I injured myself changing direction and that happens on this type of surface,” explained Alcaraz, who took time to get up after a fell suddenly, limping to his chair and putting a towel on his face before the coach arrived.

Alcaraz coach Juan Carlos Ferrero watched with concern from the stands as his player, grimacing and limping slightly, returned to the field and won the first game.

But after losing his serve in the second game, he decided not to continue.

“It’s really sad to win like this, because I know how hard each player works to be ready for a tournament of this magnitude,” Monteiro commented.

“I just wish him a speedy recovery, that it’s not serious and that it doesn’t affect his season,” added the 29-year-old left-hander, who now has 2 wins to 0 against Alcaraz, after beating him for the first time in the round of 16 at Melbourne-1 in 2021.

The injury comes as reigning Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner of Italy closes in on Alcaraz’s world No. 2 spot.

The Spaniard leads Sinner – victorious in Rotterdam on Sunday – by just 535 points and has 1,000 points to defend next month at the prestigious hard court tournament in Indian Wells, California.

On the ATP website, he explained: “Tomorrow I will do a test for my ankle and we will see if it is something serious or not. I felt bad. That’s the first impression I had. I felt pain when I fell, I thought it would be difficult to continue playing. After a few points, I didn’t feel any better. I couldn’t move well and I knew it would be impossible for me to continue. I thought it would get worse if I continued playing for so long and that’s why I chose to give up.”

Results of the 1st round:
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) beat Carlos Alcaraz (ESP/N.1) 1-1 (abandoned)
Felipe Meligeni (BRA) beat Pedro CachÃn (ARG) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Facundo Diaz (ARG) bat Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-5, 6-4
Sebastián Báez (ARG/N.5) beat Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-4, 6-3
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) bat Daniel Galán (COL) 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-1
Christian Garín (CHI) bat Roberto Carballés (ESP) 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3
Mariano Navone (ARG) bat Federico Coria (ARG) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
Yannick Hanfmann (GER) beats Nicolás Jarry (CHI/N.3) 6-1, 1-6, 7-5


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