Carlos Alcaraz admits he has Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic to thank

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Teenage tennis star Carlos Alcaraz says that he has 22-time Grand Slam winners Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to thank for his form at the Indian Wells Masters. The 19-year-old catapulted himself to world No.1 after winning his first Grand Slam at last year’s US Open – but three months out injured has resulted in him dropping a position in the rankings.

An abdominal tear ruled Alcaraz out of the ATP Finals and Davies Cup Finals, but the Spaniard still finished the year at world No.1. A hamstring injury sustained during training resulted in the teenager missing the Australian Open and losing his top ranking title.

Alcaraz was back in form on his return to action beating Cameron Norrie in the Argentina Open final setting himself up for an assault on the Indian Wells Masters. The world No.2 will meet Jannik Sinner in semi-final after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4 in the last-eight.

During his time out injured, Alcaraz said he focused on how tennis greats Nadal and Djokovic have returned from setbacks during their careers. The Spanish star said: “I look to the big players, Djokovic or Rafa, when they are coming from an injury and probably they have a great percentage to win the tournament after an injury.

“I looked at them a little bit when I was injured, you know, training. They motivated me to play a good game after an injury in the first tournaments. I was surprised when I won Buenos Aires, but right now, I’m not surprised at it.”

Nadal is currently on the road back to fitness after sustaining a leg injury during his shock second round defeat to Mackenzie McDonald in the Australian Open. Monte Carlo Masters tournament director David Massey provided an update and hopes that Nadal will be ready to open his clay court season between April 8 and 13.

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Massey added: “He really wants to play in the Monte Carlo Masters and is giving himself every opportunity to participate in the tournament that he likes so much.” Djokovic is also absent from the Indian Wells Masters after being refused entry to America due to his unvaccinated status against Covid.

Djokovic is also set to miss out on the Miami Open later this month as the US government shows no sign of changing their stance on him entering the country unvaccinated. Djokovic could meet Nadal in his next tournament at the Monte Carlo Masters.

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