ATP Rio de Janeiro: Alcaraz, victim of another injury, yields to Norrie | Sports

Everything was going smoothly. Until everything went wrong. The hamstring in Carlos Alcaraz’s right leg suffered and the final in Rio de Janeiro took a drastic and radical turn, posing a practically impossible scenario. Raw. Sore and unable to exercise support, the 19-year-old Spaniard played for an hour with his hands, unable to sprint or maneuver. Surviving. He revolted, he rebelled, he left everything. But there was no way: 5-7, 6-4 and 7-5 in favor of Cameron Norrie, after 2h 40m. The physical mishap deprived him of revalidating the title in Brazil and once again underlined the harsh reality of injuries and tennis, a sport in which there are no pauses or truces. After playing nine games in 14 days, coming from a prolonged absence, the musculature of the Murcian slowed him down. He was close to him, but he vanished.

Again, his body acts as a trap. It happened in November, also in December and the misfortune is repeated in February. After getting the pulse back on track, with the first set in his pocket and the second set well on track, 3-0 up, Alcaraz reached out to the back of his right thigh and claimed the physio. The final had exploded into a thousand pieces. The bandage was of little use. About an hour, from the moment Norrie scratched his first game in the second set, the Spaniard could only reply on a couple of tiles, without mobility or ability to adjust the shot from the right profile. Even so, he rushed through all the options. He continued on the track based on pride and wrist, but the effort came to nothing.

“Calm down, calm down!” they repeated to him from the box, trying to stop that irrepressible instinct to always go to the boarding and that the evil was not greater. And the boy listened, that he must explore new avenues because in tennis not everything is ammunition and straight lines often turn into sharp curves. The Murcian had to apply the handbrake and reluctantly accept. Enraged, he played for an hour dented, without the possibility of replicating in a real way. Even so, he managed to stun Norrie, affected by exhaustion and surprised by the stubbornness and sparks of the rival, but more whole. One set and 3-0 behind, the Briton – beaten last weekend in the epilogue in Buenos Aires – found his best ally in the enemy’s misfortune.

“What a game, Charlie. Another battle”, summarized on the sand a tennis player on the rise, who has established himself in the noble plant of the ATP circuit and who has reached 13 finals in less than two years. With five trophies on the record, he retaliated after losing in Argentina and earlier in the year in Auckland. Nobody adds as many victories as he (18) in this 2023. He also made up the individual with Alcaraz: now 4-2.

He is not one of those who wrinkle the 12th in the world, who seems not to be there but who always makes the rubber. It always stirs, rushes every possibility. He has the spirit of the marathon runner. He resisted the first quarter, destroyed the first set ball but at the next attack, conceding that backhand passer, he momentarily lost his bearings. It had happened to Jarry the night before: from hope to ko. So close so far. It seemed that he was leaving the duel, that he was fading and that with that 3-0 in the second, the Spaniard had put the direct. But he came back. 3-4. In the blink of an eye, a radical turn. Suddenly, the ischium of the right leg imposed a brake on Alcaraz.

If twenty-four hours before he had complained about his left leg, the stress of the week accumulated in the other extremity. When he best painted the thing, the physicist played a trick on him again. To the limit, he gambled at the minimum expression; two or three shots and the final cracked. There was no script or logic anymore. Of break to break, without any control; five in the 12 games that were played in the denouement. Winners or nothing. To the bravery he, Norrie ended up imposing the conservative bet. Too much whiplash for the Murcian, who has returned to the circuit after almost four months in the reserves (102 days absent) and who this Sunday ended up paying for the accumulated wear and tear, as well as the anxiety of a week full of ups and downs. Too much wobble.

the same muscle of december

He contained Alves, came back from Fognini, saved Lajovic’s two breaks from the start and turned Jarry before physically gripping Norrie. His right leg, the same one that prevented him from being in Australia, stumbled again. “It has been a very demanding 14 days,” he said at the foot of the track, aware that the setback will probably prevent him from competing these days in Acapulco –a tournament that he also had to give up a year ago– and that his calendar is up in the air. In the absence of a definitive medical examination, the degree of the damage will determine whether or not he can participate in the North American tour on cement, which begins on March 8 in Indian Wells and will continue in Miami (starting on the 22nd).

“It is something that you have to think about. I’m going to evaluate it with the physiotherapist [Juanjo Moreno] and with the doctor [Juanjo López]. You have to see the severity of the injury and see what I have in the hamstring, and, from there, evaluate to see if I can go play in Acapulco without taking much risk, “he said in a statement collected by the EFE news agency. “The schedule is very demanding and I’ve been giving my best for 15 days, without stopping for any day, and when there are games like this one, it ends up causing discomfort. It is difficult to feel pain in the same muscle in which I had an injury a few months ago, that is why I have bandaged it. Now I must recover ”, he extended.

However, two weeks have been enough for Alcaraz to make it clear that his competitive fang is intact: a title, a final. The flashes of him in Buenos Aires impressed and he has signed a creditable track in Rio, where he has only found a stop in the muscular trick. This last one has not been a tournament of brilliance, but of resistance and guts, of learning to compete in a different way. 200 points behind Novak Djokovic in the ranking -He would have equalized with the Serbian if he had won-, injuries have marred the meteoric rise that he undertook as soon as he appeared in the elite. At 19 years old, the man from El Palmar begins to see the high physical toll of his sport.

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