US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz has pulled out of this week’s ATP 500 event in Acapulco with a strained hamstring, while British No 1 Cameron Norrie has also withdrawn.
Alcaraz, who was scheduled to play his opening match on Tuesday, picked up the injury during his 5-7 6-4 7-5 loss to Norrie in Sunday’s Rio Open final.
The Spaniard was hindered by pain with both his movement and serve in the defeat, with Alcaraz now hoping to be fit to feature at next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells – the first ATP Tour 1000 event of the year.
“I have a grade 1 strain in my right hamstring that will keep me out for several days, according to the tests we did this morning,” Alcaraz wrote on Twitter.
“I’m really sad I can’t compete here, but now it’s time to think about recovering and being ready as soon as possible. I hope to see you all soon!”
After spending more than three months out of action due to abdominal and hamstring injuries, Alcaraz enjoyed a winning comeback when he beat Norrie in the final of February’s ATP 250 event in Buenos Aires.
At the Rio Open, the 19-year-old needed treatment for a left leg problem during his semi-final and then picked up an injury to the other leg in the match against Norrie in the final.
Norrie also pulled out of the tournament in Mexico, saying he needed to rest after reaching final in back-to-back events.
The Briton, who leads the ATP Tour in match victories this season with 18, is scheduled to return to action at the Indian Wells hardcourt event beginning next week.
“Unfortunately, I have to withdraw from Acapulco,” Norrie said on his Instagram story. “It’s one of my favourite tournaments, so it’s really tough for me to withdraw.”
Djokovic expecting battle for No 1 in 2023
Novak Djokovic said his return to the top of the world rankings felt like a big achievement after a year of turmoil where he had to skip several tournaments including two Grand Slams, but the Serbian expects a see-sawing battle for the position in 2023.
Djokovic missed the 2022 Australian Open and was deported from the country due to being unvaccinated against Covid-19 before returning this year to clinch a record-extending 10th title at Melbourne Park and 22nd major to reclaim world No 1.
The 35-year-old was forced out of big tournaments in the United States last year, including the US Open, as he was unable to enter the country due to his refusal to be vaccinated, while Djokovic also received no points for winning the Wimbledon title due to the Grand Slam being penalised for its decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus.
“I think this is the least points I’ve had as number one. It happens,” Djokovic said on Tuesday. “It’s not only due to my circumstances of not playing a couple of Grand Slams and everything that happened last year, but also other players, some players missing some slams for injuries, some not having the biggest consistency.
“I guess that makes the achievement bigger, at least in my team’s and my eyes. I’m overwhelmed with pride. I work as hard as anybody else. I’m really committed to the sport. And I try.”
Djokovic is now into his 378th week as the world No 1, surpassing Steffi Graf’s record for the most weeks at the top of the sport, although he expects younger players like Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas to eventually catch up with him.
“These guys are playing at a high level constantly,” Djokovic said. “They’re playing a lot of tournaments. I’m not playing as much and don’t plan to play as many weeks as they do. Eventually they’ll take the number one, then I’ll bring it back again, then they’ll take it again. We’ll go in circles.”