Tennis: World No.1, top seed Carlos Alcaraz out of Australian Open with right leg injury

Carlos Alcaraz in action at the 2022 US Open
Carlos Alcaraz in action at the 2022 US Open. Photo credit: Getty Images

World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz will not play in the Australian Open, after picking up a right leg muscle injury during pre-season training.

"When I was at my best in pre-season, I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training," he tweeted. "This time, it's the semimembranosus muscle [hamstring] in my right leg.

"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," he added.

"We're sorry we won't be seeing you this year @carlosalcaraz," the Australian Open tweeted in reply. "Wishing you a swift recovery.

"See you back on court soon."

The 19-year-old claimed his maiden major title at last year's US Open, which also made him the youngest-ever men's world No.1.

Before the first Grand Slam of the year, he says he was nearing full fitness, after missng the ATP Finals and Davis Cup with an abdominal injury sustained at the Paris Masters.

Alcaraz replaced Russia's Daniil Medvedev at the top of the rankings, after beating Norway's Casper Ruud in the US Open final in September, electrifying the crowd with his acrobatic shot-making, hard-hitting forehand and emphatic fist pumps.

Tennis fans were looking forward to witnessing one of the sport's brightest young stars at Melbourne Park, where he could have faced nine-time Aus Open winner Novak Djokovic or countryman Rafa Nadal, the defending champion.