World No. 1 Alcaraz to miss Australian Open with leg injury

US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz said on Friday he will miss the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, after injuring his right leg in training.

"I picked up an injury through a chance, unnatural movement in training," the 19-year-old Spaniard wrote on his Twitter account.

"I'd worked so hard to get to my best level for Australia but unfortunately I won't be able to play," the world's top-ranked player added.

"It's tough, but I have to be optimistic, recover and look forward. We'll see you at the Australian Open in 2024."

Alcaraz's withdrawal means defending champion and 22-time major winner Rafael Nadal will be promoted to top seed at the Australian Open which starts in Melbourne on January 16.

Novak Djokovic, the nine-time champion and a 21-time Grand Slam title winner, will move into the top four seedings.

That will mean he cannot face old rival Nadal until the semi-finals at the earliest.

Alcaraz became the world's youngest world number one since the creation of the ATP rankings in 1973 by winning his first Grand Slam tournament at the US Open last September.

He then became the youngest player in history to finish the year at the top of the world rankings.

However, an abdominal tear forced him to retire in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters in November which in turn forced him to miss the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin won by Djokovic.

Alcaraz also had to sit out the Davis Cup finals.

Djokovic will return to the Australian Open after being deported from the country last year over his refusal to be vaccinated.

ig/lh/pb/dj/pb