DStv Channel 403 Sunday, 21 April 2024

Ankle injury forces Alcaraz out in first round of ATP Rio Open

RIO DE JANEIRO - World number two Carlos Alcaraz retired from his first-round match Tuesday at the ATP Rio Open after rolling his right ankle on just the second point of the contest against Thiago Monteiro.

The Spanish star took a medical timeout, had the ankle taped and won the first game but after dropping his serve in the second game he called it quits, in another setback to a so-far disappointing 2024 campaign.

Shortly after the match Alcaraz told reporters the decision to withdraw was a "precaution" and that the physiotherapists who treated him had indicated the injury "is not serious."

"I spoke with the physiotherapist on the court and we decided, together, that I would continue to see if it improved. It didn't, so we preferred to be careful and withdraw as a precaution," Alcaraz said, adding that he would have further tests on Wednesday.

The two-time Grand Slam winner's tough start to 2024 included a four-set defeat by Alexander Zverev in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Last Saturday he fell to 21st-ranked Chilean Nicolas Jarry in the semi-finals at Buenos Aires, and hasn't won an ATP title since his stunning Wimbledon triumph over Novak Djokovic last July.

Hopes that he could start turning things around in Rio -- where he lifted the trophy in 2022 and finished runner-up to Britain's Cameron Norrie last year -- were quickly dashed.

He and 117th-ranked Brazilian Monteiro were two points into the match when Alcaraz's right foot stuck in the red clay surface at Jockey Club Brasileiro, where rain had delayed the start of play for three hours.

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

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