Monte Carlo Masters suffers triple blow in the space of an hour after big-name withdrawals

Shahida Jacobs
Carlos Alcaraz in actino
Carlos Alcaraz pulling a face

The Monte Carlo Masters line-up won’t have three of the biggest names in tennis in the 2023 line-up after Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime followed Rafael Nadal in withdrawing from the tournament.

Nadal was first to pull out of the ATP Masters 1000 event on Tuesday, but the 22-time Grand Slam winner’s announcement did not come as a total surprise as he has only just returned to training after struggling with a hip injury since January.

However, Alcaraz’s withdrawal came out of the blue as the reigning US Open champion looked in fine nick over the past few weeks en route to winning the Indian Wells Open and during his run to the Miami Open semi-final.

The teenager, though, announced on social media that he is struggling with post-traumatic arthritis and has muscular discomfort in the spine.

“After two months of competing, I’m happy to be back home but sad that I finished my semifinal match in Miami with soreness,” he wrote. “After visiting my doctor @drlopezmartinez in Murcia today and being evaluated, I will not be able to go to Monte Carlo to start the tour on the ground.

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

Alcaraz, who only returned to action at the Argentine Open in February after missing the start of the season due to a hamstring injury, was asked about his fitness after semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner in Miami and revealed he only struggled with cramps.

“I started cramping at the beginning of the third set, but it wasn’t the reason for I lost the match,” he said.

“You know, I went back after cramping at the beginning, I started to feel better. But of course Jannik, he was better than me in the third set. That’s the truth, you know. But yeah, it was in the first game of the third set.”

Alcaraz lost in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters last year, but he then went on a glorious run as he won the Barcelona Open and Madrid Open.

READ MORE: ‘Carlos Alcaraz tougher to face than Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and ahead of Big Three at the same age’

Not long after Alcaraz announced his withdrawal, world No 7 Auger-Aliassime also pulled out.

The Canadian wrote: “Unfortunately I have to announce my retirement from the @rolexmontecarlomasters 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 @mutuamadridopen 🙏🏽🧡

“Thank you as always for your support and I look forward to seeing you back on court soon 😊”