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‘Not good for tennis’: Novak Djokovic’s sympathy for injured rival ahead of Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has wished Carlos Alcaraz a speedy recovery after the young Spanish superstar was forced to give the Australian Open a miss with injury.

The Serbian great, whose own hopes of a record-equaling 22nd grand slam have clearly been boosted by the withdrawal of the teenage world No 1, said the young gun’s absence from Melbourne Park was “not good for tennis”.

But Djokovic is hoping the man who’s taken over his mantle as the best player in the game following his US Open triumph gets back to winning business soon.

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“Obviously, it’s not good for tournament, not good for tennis,” said Djokovic on Saturday following his Adelaide International semifinal win, when asked about the 19-year-old’s Melbourne absence following the hamstring injury he suffered in pre-season training.

“He’s No. 1 in the world. Such a young player. A big name, big star in our sport already.

“I’m sure that many of the fans are disappointed. I hope for his speedy recovery. Whatever it is, I know he had an injury at the end of last season that was different from this.

Serbian star Novak Djokovic will chase a record-extending 10th title at the Australian Open this year.

Kelly Barnes/AP

Serbian star Novak Djokovic will chase a record-extending 10th title at the Australian Open this year.

“You’re constantly on the road, playing competitions. When you are out of that rhythm, your body can react.

“You can have some injuries and difficulties when you come back to the tour and start pushing more and playing points, giving more intensity in the points, practice points, practice matches.

“It’s unfortunate for him [but] he’s still young, got plenty of time. I hope he can recover and be back on the tour quickly.”

Alcaraz, who had become the youngest man ever to reach the top spot after beating Casper Ruud in the US Open final in New York in September, had only just recovered from a torn abdominal muscle that ruled him out of the season-ending ATP Finals.

But Daniil Medvedev, who was succeeded by Alcaraz as world No 1, had an encouraging message for the teen, tipping him to bounce back quickly.

Carlos Alcaraz suffered a hamstring injury in pre-season training that ruled him out of the tournament.

Andy Brownbill/AP

Carlos Alcaraz suffered a hamstring injury in pre-season training that ruled him out of the tournament.

“It’s a pity,” said the Russian. “The way he played at 18 years old, he could be a little bit kind of Rafa, Novak, Roger kind of guy.

“But he still has 19 slams to win, so it’s a pity that he doesn’t play the next one. Would be fun to watch.

“I’m sure he’s going to come back stronger.”

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