Tennis

Djokovic and Medvedev share reaction to Alcaraz Aus Open withdrawal

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Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev gave their verdict on Carlos Alcaraz’s Australian Open withdrawal after the world No 1 was forced to pull out of the first Grand Slam of the year when he picked up a fresh injury during his pre-season training. The reigning US Open champion announced the news on Friday night, and both Djokovic and Medevdev thought that the Spaniard would be able to bounce back despite the disappointing news.

Alcaraz announced that he was pulling out of the Australian Open on Friday night after sustaining an injury in his training. “It is time to deal with another blow. When I was at my best in preseason, I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training. This time it’s the semimembranosus muscle in my right leg,” he wrote on social media, announcing the news.

“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, Australian Open.” It’s Alcaraz second injury setback in three months, as his 2022 season was cut short by an ab injury picked up at the Paris Masters, and means that the 19-year-old will not be able to contest his first Major since becoming the world No 1 and a Grand Slam champion.

Although his withdrawal clears the field for the likes of Djokovic and Medvedev with one less top player in the draw, both men shared their disappointment for both Alcaraz and the tournament as they reacted to the news on Saturday “ t’s a pity. I’m not exactly sure what he has, if it’s a little bit the consequence of a previous injury or just a new one,” the Russian said after losing to Djokovic in Adelaide.

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“I’m not his team, so I have no idea. It’s a pity.” And the world No 7 admitted he was sad not to get the chance to face the young star to test his own level, as he compared Alcaraz to the likes of the Big Three. Medvedev continued: “He’s one of the best players in the world. We played once, but he was not at the same level. We might not even count it.

“I would be happy to play him. Feeling in my best form. Yeah, the way he played at 18 years old, he could be a little bit kind of Rafa, Novak, Roger kind of guy. But he still has 19 slams to win, so it’s a pity that he doesn’t play the next Slam. Would be fun to watch. I’m sure he’s going to come back stronger.”

And Djokovic was in agreement with the 26-year-old as he admitted it was a shame to see the world No 1 miss the Australian Open, adding: “Yeah, I saw that. I mean, obviously it’s not good for tournament, not good for tennis.

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“He’s No 1 in the world. Such a young player. A big name, big star in our sport already. I’m sure that many of the fans are disappointed. I hope for his speedy recovery. Whatever it is, I know he had injury end of last season that was different from this one, as I understood.”

As something of a veteran on the tour now, Djokovic also offered some words of wisdom to the Spanish teenager as he admitted it was a part of the sport. “It happens that sometimes, even though if you have kind of longer period of time without an official tournament, that actually your body is not used to that kind of conditions and circumstances because as a tennis player you’re constantly on the road, playing competitions,” he explained.

“When you are out of that rhythm, body can react. You can have some injuries and difficulties when you come back to the tour and start pushing more and playing points, giving more intensity in the points, practice points, practice matches.” But he also backed Alcaraz to come back stronger, adding: “It’s unfortunate for him. As I said, he’s still young, got plenty of time. I hope he can recover and be back on the tour quickly.”

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