The Australian Open, which begins with the qualifiers on Monday, has seen some big names pulling out of the tournament or heading into the Grand Slam on the back of injuries.
List of notable players who have withdrawn from Australian Open 2023:
Top seed and World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz is the biggest name to withdraw from the Grand Slam. The Spaniard, who has had a dream run in the past few years on the ATP tour, took to social media to announce that he had hurt himself “through a chance, unnatural movement in training”.
Alcaraz, who is the youngest man to finish a season at No. 1 since the ATP began to compile the computerised rankings, is facing a setback for the second time. He tore an abdominal muscle in November during the Paris Masters.
Nick Kyrgios stunned the Australian Open by pulling out of the tournament because of a knee injury, ending local hopes that he might be able to end the nation’s long wait for a home men’s champion.
The 27-year-old, runner-up at Wimbledon last year, said he was “devastated” to have to withdraw after entering his home Grand Slam as one of the favourites.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, who slipped to 46 in the world rankings, withdrew from the tournament on Sunday, a day before the qualifiers started. Later in the week, however, she announced her pregnancy and said she would be back for the 2024 edition.
Osaka has not played on the WTA tour since September 2022 when she gave a walkover in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open. In 2021, the US Open champion had taken a mental health break and said she was battling depression.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams was preparing to play her 22nd Australian Open this year but suffered an injury during the warm-up tournament, the ASB Classic in New Zealand.
The 42-year-old former World No. 1, who is currently ranked outside the top 1000, was given a wildcard for the event, which was eventually passed on to Australia’s Kimberly Birrell.
Marin Cilic has pulled out from the 2023 Australian Open, the 34-year-old Croatian announced on social media on Wednesday.
Last week, top-seeded Cilic had withdrawn from his quarterfinal clash against eventual champion Tallon Griekspoor at Tata Open Maharashtra due to a knee injury sustained in warm-up, hours before the match.
Paula Badosa has pulled out of the Australian Open due to a right thigh injury sustained in a warm-up tournament in Adelaide, the world number 11 said on Saturday.
Spaniard Badosa, who reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park last year, withdrew from her Adelaide International 2 semi-final against Daria Kasatkina on Friday after picking up the injury in the previous round.
Ajla Tomljanovic has also withdrawn from the year’s first Grand Slam, which starts on Monday, after the local hope sustained a knee injury at the season-opening United Cup mixed team tournament.
“I’ve done absolutely everything in my power to get healthy but just ran out of time to heal and be 100% ready to compete at a high level,” Tomljanovic tweeted.
“It’s been a very tough decision to make but I have to listen to my body.”
Top players who face injury concerns:
Reigning World No. 1 and Australian Open top seed Iga Swiatek withdrew from the Adelaide Open, a tune-up tournament before the Australian Open, due to an injury to her shoulder.
Swiatek last played the United Cup mixed team event, where she lost to Jessica Pegula in straight sets.
Rafael Nadal will be the top seed at the Australian Open after the withdrawal of Alcaraz. However, Nadal has had a series of injury concerns in the latter half of 2022, the biggest being his foot injury.
Nadal has for long suffered from Mueller-Weiss syndrome , a rare foot condition characterized by a misshaped navicular bone and subsequent early onset of degenerative arthritis of the neighbouring joints.
Nadal also faced an abdominal tear during Wimbledon last year, which led him to give Nick Kyrgios a walkover in the semifinals. Since then, he has lost in the round of 32 at the Cincinnati and Paris Masters, round of 16 at the US Open, group stage of the ATP finals and has suffered back-to-back defeats at the United Cup mixed team event.
Nadal would hope to defend his title but the host of injury concerns may be an impediment.
Kyrgios, who will be gunning for a Grand slam win at home at the Australian Open, withdrew from the Adelaide International due to an ankle injury. He did not participate in the United Cup mixed team event as well, citing the same injury. However, his manager clarified there was “no doubt at all” that Kyrgios would feature at the opening Grand Slam of the year when he spoke to the Australian media.
Emma Raducanu, who won the US Open in 2021 without dropping a set, hasn’t been able to replicate that form since. She retired hurt from the ASB Classic in New Zealand this year after rolling her ankle in the second round. As the injury came days before the start of the Australian Open, her availability and match fitness remain doubtful.
Raducanu’s best performance at a Grand Slam in 2022 was a second-round exit from the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. She faced a first-round exit at the US Open last year after losing to Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-3.
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