Alcaraz suffers ankle injury in Rio opener, retires after two games

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 21 (IANS) Top seed Carlos Alcaraz suffered an ankle injury just two points into his Rio Open opening-round match against Thiago Monteiro and retired shortly after despite a valiant attempt to continue the match.

After hitting a forehand return, Alcaraz was moving laterally back towards the centre of the court when Monteiro went back in behind him. The Spaniard planted his right foot to halt his momentum, but his right ankle rolled badly and he fell to the ground on his backside, according to tournament website.

With Monteiro’s help, the Spaniard made his way back to his bench and had his ankle heavily strapped by ATP physio Alejandro Resnicoff. He returned to the court and broke the Brazilian to take a 1-0 lead. But his movement was compromised and he retired after dropping serve in the next game.

“Tomorrow I’ll have a test for my ankle and let’s see if it’s something serious or not,” Alcaraz said. “After a few points it didn’t feel better. I was feeling the pain. I couldn’t move well, and I knew that it was going to be impossible to continue. I thought it was going to get worse if I kept playing for such a long match and that’s why I choose to retire.”

Alcaraz, who made his ATP Tour debut in Rio in 2020, won the title in 2022 and finished runner-up to Cameron Norrie in 2023.

The injury setback will not help the Spaniard in his battle to defend the No. 2 ATP Ranking from surging Italian Jannik Sinner. The reigning Wimbledon champion leads Sinner by just 535 points and has 1000 points to defend next month as the defending champion at the Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

–IANS

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