Rio de Janeiro 2024 Tournament: A sprained ankle keeps Alcaraz out of Rio de Janeiro | Tennis | Sports

Carlos Alcaraz’s time in Rio de Janeiro is reduced to 18 minutes of competition, although the mishap occurs when only two have passed. Then, the Murcian’s right foot digs sharply into the sand when performing a lateral rectification maneuver and bends around the outside until it practically draws a right angle. The tennis player remains on the ground, hurts and looks at his bench, where they are reviewing the action on their cell phones. The rival, Thiago Monteiro, helps him get up and as soon as he reaches the chair and removes his sock, he notices the swelling that increases until it draws a It was considerable on the ankle. The Spaniard covers himself with a towel, the doctor intervenes and the compression bandage helps him continue, but only for a couple of games. After achieving a break and concede another (1-1), Alcaraz heads to the locker room limping and apologizing to the Brazilian stands, who last year already witnessed another physical misfortune for the 2022 champion in the final.

Alcaraz and Río, Río and Alcaraz. A two-sided story. In 2020, the mark of his first victory on the ATP circuit, when he was 16 years old, he received an invitation and beat Albert Ramos. “My style is more or less like Federer’s,” he introduced himself. A year later he triumphed, and the next year his hamstring played tricks on him in the final episode against the British Cameron Norrie. He is now suffering an unpleasant episode with the joint, pending the tests that he will undergo this Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury. “We’re going to see what appears in the images, but both my physio and the ATP believe it’s not something serious,” he reassured. “In the end the ankle is still hot, so it has to cool down and see my sensations to decide if I take one direction or another,” he said, referring to the roadmap designed for the next dates, which indicates an exhibition in Las Vegas on the 3rd. March, against Rafael Nadal, before landing at the Indian Wells Masters (March 6) and Miami (13).

“I still feel the pain and I’m a little lame, but let’s take it easy; I’m going to recover and rest, and tomorrow will be another day. I returned to the game to see if I could continue or not. I spoke to the physio on the track and we decided that I would continue to see if it improved, but it didn’t. So we preferred to be careful and retire as a precaution,” added the one from El Palmar, who separated the mishap from the state of the track — “it was pretty good, I just pushed hard; These are things that happen, they happen to most tennis players”—and he will leave Brazil with a bad taste in his mouth, at the same time hoping that the first exploration is right, and the evil is less. He therefore faces a race against time to reach the event that would take place in 11 days in Las Vegas and the subsequent tour in the Californian desert and Miami, which will begin just three days later.

Alcaraz, on the sand after suffering the sprain.Antonio Lacerda (EFE)

The withdrawal in Rio – a third category tournament, an ATP 500 – will have a direct impact on his locker in the ranking, since he will not be able to defend the 300 points obtained a year ago in this scenario. He had already given up another 150 last week, in Buenos Aires, where he lost to the Chilean Nicolás Jarry in the semifinals. “There are many things to improve,” he demanded then. He now feels the encouragement of Jannik Sinner, located 535 points behind the second place he defends, behind only Novak Djokovic. The Serbian dominates at the top with an income of 1,050 and the red-haired Italian, champion in Melbourne, presses with a magnificent dynamic that has allowed him to win the 12 games he has played this season. Alcaraz, meanwhile, has six wins—four in Australia, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Alexander Zverev, and two in Buenos Aires—and two losses.

With 12 titles under his belt, two of them big, the Murcian is trying to regain the success that has been denied him since July, when he was crowned in style at Wimbledon. Fatigue took its toll on him during the final quarter of the last year and now he has a scare due to his ankle, which two years ago already caused him problems on the clay in Madrid and then in Umag (Croatia). In any case, in recent times he had not suffered any notable physical setbacks, beyond an inflammation in the plantar fascia of his left foot that led him to resign from Basel in November as a precaution. He started 2023 with several incidents, but since June his explosive proposal on the track had not forced him to stop. This is his third withdrawal in his short career in the elite after the 2021 US Open – against Felix Auger-Aliassime, due to the adductor – and the Paris-Bercy 2022 – against Holger Rune, abdominal tear.

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