Cam Norrie got his revenge on Carlos Alcaraz a week on from losing in Buenos Aires to take the Rio Open title on Sunday, but the Spaniard has admitted he aggravated an injury that kept him out of the Australian Open in the process. Alcaraz played in his first tournament of 2023 in Argentina earlier this month, beating Norrie in straight sets.
And the 19-year-old sensation was back on the court just days later at the Rio Open, beating the likes of Fabio Fognini and Dusan Lajovic on his way to reaching the final. And he looked on his way to winning his second title in as many tournaments after taking the opening set against Norrie.
But the Briton rallied back to force a deciding set and ultimately held on to win his fifth ATP Tour title. Alcaraz didn’t appear to be moving too freely in the final set with his right leg bandaged.
And the Spanish teenager admitted after his final defeat that he was cautious that he had aggravated the same injury that ruled him out for several weeks earlier this year. “The schedule is very demanding,” Alcaraz said.
“I have been playing at the highest level for 15 days, without stopping for any day. In the end, playing games like today, discomfort arises, and you notice things.
“To prevent, you ask for the physio and they bandage your leg, but I felt pain in the same muscle where I had the injury last month. It’s hard. I have tried to play at my best level despite that setback.
“When you’re injured, that affects your game, because when you’re not well you have to do something different and risk more than necessary. I tried to be more aggressive and finish the points faster, but against an opponent like Norrie, who is very tough, it’s difficult to win.
“Taking so many risks, you end up making a lot of mistakes and that has influenced me a lot.” Alcaraz is currently scheduled to play in Acapulco this week with a first-round match against Mackenzie McDonald set for Tuesday.
But it’s been suggested that he could pull out of the tournament in order to give him time to rest before Indian Wells gets underway next week with the Miami Masters taking place immediately after. Known as the Sunshine Double, both American tournaments offer huge rankings points as Masters 1000 events.
Alcaraz reached the semi-finals of Indian Wells last year before going on to win the Miami Masters. His performance at the two Masters 1000 events helped him eventually move inside the top 10 for the first time in his career at just 18 years old.
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