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Madrid champ Alcaraz to skip Rome Masters due to ankle injury

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates with champagne after his straight sets victory against Alexander Zverev of Germany in Madrid Open at La Caja Magica on May 8, 2022 in Madrid
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates with champagne after his straight sets victory against Alexander Zverev of Germany in Madrid Open at La Caja Magica on May 8, 2022 in Madrid
Image: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Newly-crowned Madrid Open champion Carlos Alcaraz said he has decided to skip the Rome Masters in a bid to recover from an ankle injury ahead of the French Open later this month.

Alcaraz, who rolled his ankle in the quarterfinals in Madrid, overcame pain to beat three top five players — Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev — to win his second Masters title days after his 19th birthday.

“Due to the fall that I had, the ankle, I had a problem and this morning it was a little more swollen. Also I had a blister in my feet which was a little bit infected and it's been a little bit tough start to the day,” Alcaraz told reporters.

“It was difficult for me to walk but after a while with my team, with the physio, with the doctor, we have managed to fix it to do something to be able to be 100% today.

“I thought about it (playing in Rome). I think that given the state of my feet and my ankle, I'm really excited for fighting for a Grand Slam. I think that it's better to rest, to recover my ankle, recover my feet, to be in Paris at 100%.”

Alcaraz beat Zverev 6-3 6-1 in just 62 minutes in the final and his fourth singles title of the year will move him up to sixth in the rankings.

Zverev said the young Spaniard is now the “best player in the world” but Alcaraz is not getting ahead of himself.

“Djokovic is number one in the ranking. Because I have won Barcelona and I have beaten Djokovic and Rafa in Madrid, I don't consider myself the best player in the world,” he said.

“I also think that tomorrow I'm going to be sixth, so I still have five players in front of me to be the best one.” 

Zverev blamed the ATP Tour's scheduling for his underwhelming performance.

“The scheduling needs to be done better ... Yesterday I started my match at 11pm. I played three sets. Finished at 1.30am,” Zverev told reporters.

“Until I get back to the hotel, until I eat, until I do my work with the physio because I have to prepare my body for the next day, it's 5am.

“If you stay up until 4-5am, the next day you are tired. If you do it two nights in a row, you are completely dead. You are destroyed, you will not be able to do physical activity on a maximum level.”

Zverev, who was the defending champion in Madrid, said he was upset as the final had lost its sheen as a result since fans expected an even contest, even though the majority were rooting for the Spaniard Alcaraz.

“Yes, most of the people in the stadium wanted Carlos to win and all of that, but nobody wanted to see a match like this,” Zverev added.

“Everybody wanted to see a great fight. Everybody wanted to see some high-level tennis. But I'm also human, I'm not a robot. I simply I cannot be on my level when this is happening every single night.

“Everybody says it was a bad match, I made double faults, I didn't play well and all of that. But look at what's happening the days before, look at what's actually happening behind the scenes as well. It's not quite fair.”

When asked about the allegations of domestic abuse against him — after his ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova said he was emotionally and physically abusive to her — the German said it was a “difficult time” for him.

“The world is kind of a double standard right now that you have to prove yourself innocent. Until you prove yourself innocent you are guilty, basically, in the world that we live in right now, which is not very fair at times,” Zverev said. — Reuters




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