Monte Carlo | Nadal, Alcaraz and Auger-Aliassime drop out.

The organisers of the Rolex Monte Carlos Masters were left reeling yesterday following the news that both the King of Clay and his likely successor, will be missing from the draw when the first of the 1000 level events on clay kicks off on the 8th of April.

.... but unfortunately, I will have to miss it again since I am still not ready to compete without the risk of getting injured. I will continue the long process of getting ready to come back. Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, joined by Felix Auger Aliassime, announced their withdrawals within the space of an hour to deny tennis fans for what was hoped to be a clash between the two iconic Spaniards at the opposite ends of their respective careers.

Nadal, an 11-time champion at the Principality, reveals he is still suffering from a left hip problem he picked up in Melbourne during the Australian Open. It will be the second consecutive year that he has not made an appearance at the Monte Carlos Masters.

“Hi everyone, unfortunately I am still not ready to compete and will miss one of those special tournaments I always love to play,” Nadal said in a statement. “Monte Carlo is and has been a key event on my career, but unfortunately, I will have to miss it again since I am still not ready to compete without the risk of getting injured. I will continue the long process of getting ready to come back.”


Carlos Alcaraz hasn't recovered from injuries picked up in Miami

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Not long after that announcement, Alcaraz, who will be celebrating his 20th birthday later this month and has won 18 of the 20 matches he has contested this year, made his on Twitter where he revealed he was suffering from a number of issues.

“After two months abroad, I am happy to return home but sad because I finished my last match in Miami with physical discomfort. After visiting my doctor @drlopezmartinez in Murcia today and being evaluated, I will not be able to go to Monte Carlo to start the clay court tour.

“I have post-traumatic arthritis in my left hand and muscular discomfort in the spine that needs rest to prepare for everything that is to come. See you in 2024 @ROLEXMCMASTERS!”


Felix Auger-Aliassime speaking at a press conference following his loss in Miami

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Not long later, the top Canadian, Auger Alaissime joined the two Spaniards citing an injury in his left knee.

“Unfortunately, I have to announce my retirement from the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters this year. It is an event that I look forward to each year. However, I have been struggling with my left knee for the past few weeks and decided it was the smartest decision to take some time off so I’m able to fully heal and recover before my next tournament at the Mutua Madrid Open. Thank you as always for your support and I look forward to seeing you back on court soon,” he tweeted.


The withdrawals will help Novak Djokovic consolidate his position as world No.1

Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)

There is one man though, who will no doubt be delighted at the news of the Spaniards’ absence in Monaco, namely the Serbian Novak Djokovic, who regained the top-ranking spot when Alcaraz was beaten in the semis of Miami last week.

That place would have been under threat with the teenager in the draw, but now he as the chance of widening the gap between them to consolidate that place at an event he has yet to win more than twice!

He was unable to play at Indian Wells and Miami having been banned from the US because of immigration restrictions calling on all foreign travellers entering the country be vaccinated, which he still refuses to do.

That restriction should be lifted shortly following a successful vote in the Senate which awaits ratification by the President, so he should be cleared for the US Open.

The Monte Carlo Masters runs from 8-16 April, kicking off the clay-court season leading up to the French Open at Roland Garros where Nadal will be going for an extraordinary 15th title at the age of 36!

Before then, there are also ATP Masters 1000 clay-court events on the calendar in Madrid and Rome.



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