Rival reflects on Carlos Alcaraz missing AO: 'It's cruel' 

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Rival reflects on Carlos Alcaraz missing AO: 'It's cruel' 

The 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz is spending his 17th week on the ATP throne. A teenager will remain at the top until the end of the Australian Open but will not have a chance to fight for the title at Melbourne Park. The Spaniard withdrew from the season's opening Major due to a right leg injury, leaving Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud in contention for the ATP throne.

Alcaraz was working hard to get ready for the Australian Open after a slow ending to the previous season. However, during a training session, he experienced a semimembranosus muscle in his right leg and decided to skip Melbourne.

Frances Tiafoe praised Carlos and his game, stating that tennis is often a cruel sport. Alcaraz won the US Open and two Major titles in 2022 and became the youngest world no. 1. The Spaniard claimed the Rio de Janeiro title in February and became the youngest ATP 500 champion since the series kicked off in 2009.

Carlos Alcaraz will miss the Australian Open due to an injury.

The young gun pushed Rafael Nadal to the limits in the Indian Wells semi-final before losing after over three hours. Eager for more, Carlos went all the way two weeks later in Miami and became the third-youngest Masters 1000 champion after Michael Chang and Rafael Nadal!

Alcaraz did not have to wait too long to lift another notable trophy and extend his run. He conquered Barcelona at the end of April for back-to-back ATP 500 titles and a place in the top-10 at 18. The youngster lifted another Masters 1000 trophy in front of the home fans in Madrid after impressive wins over Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev within three days!

Carlos added more valuable points with the Roland Garros quarter-final, giving his everything but losing to Alexander Zverev. Alcaraz lost back-to-back ATP finals on clay in July and came to the US Open as world no. 4. He saved a match point in the quarter-final thriller against Jannik Sinner to remain on the title course.

Carlos overpowered Frances Tiafoe in the semi-final and advanced to his first Major final at 19, repeating what Nadal and Djokovic did years ago. Alcaraz fought for the ATP throne and a Major title against Casper Ruud and scored a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory in three hours and 20 minutes for a massive success.

The Spaniard became the first teenager on the ATP throne and slowed down a bit for the rest of the season. Carlos lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Basel semi-final and reached the Paris Masters quarter-final. He injured his left abdominal wall against his coeval Holger Rune, retiring in the second set's closing stages.

Alcaraz revealed an abdominal muscle injury that sidelined him from the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals. The Spaniard gave his 120% to get back at his best by the Australian Open, but the new injury prevented him from competing in Melbourne.

"Tennis is cruel. It never ends. It seems like there is a big tournament around the corner every other day. Carlos will be fine. He is extremely talented and a great player. It sucks that he's injured; I'm going to miss him. I hope he recovers quickly, and we can see him playing soon. He is great for tennis; I love watching him play," Frances Tiafoe said.