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Alcaraz, Auger-Aliassime join Nadal on Monte-Carlo withdrawal list

The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters isn’t a required tournament and some of the top players in the world are taking advantage of the opportunity to rest up before beginning the clay-court swing.

It’s the only one of the Masters 1000 events–out of nine in total–that isn’t required. That means the best players in the world can skip it even without an injury excuse and won’t incur any kind of penalty when it comes to ranking points.

That’s also why the Monte-Carlo is usually the weakest of the Masters 1000s, and this year figures to be no exception. Following Rafael Nadal’s exit, Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime announced their withdrawals earlier this week.

Although no official injury is necessary, both players joined Nadal in citing physical issues.

Alcaraz was sidelined from the Australian Open but returned to win both Buenos Aires and Indian Wells before advancing to the Miami semis. The Spaniard briefly regained the No. 1 spot but then lost it again to Novak Djokovic when he didn’t successfully defend his 2022 Miami title.

“After two months abroad, I am happy to return home but sad because I finished my last match in Miami with physical discomfort,” Alcaraz posted on his social media channels. “After visiting my doctor…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.”

Auger-Aliassime is out with an apparent knee problem.

“Unfortunately I have to announce my retirement from the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters this year,” the Canadian lamented. “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.”

Meanwhile, Nadal has been out since the Aussie Open with a hip injury. The 14-time French Open champion has been practicing on clay in recent weeks, however, so his return seems imminent.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.