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Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz: Who Missed More Tournaments Before Turning 21?

Aravind Sekhar

Carlos Alcaraz vs Rafael Nadal: Who Missed More Tournaments Before Turning 21

Carlos Alcaraz will be the biggest name missing from the Barcelona Open 2024. Alcaraz, who won the tournament in 2022 and 2023, has decided to skip the competition due to an arm injury. It has made many of his fans as well as neutrals worried since the Spaniard also missed out on the Monte Carlo Masters and besides that, has had multiple injuries in the past as well. So comparisons with Rafael Nadal in this regard have also cropped up. As a result, it is fascinating to see which player skipped more number of tournaments before turning 21.

Rafael Nadal turned 21 on June 3, 2007. Starting from the French Open in 2003, Nadal had already missed out on a minimum of 16 ATP Tour tournaments which were either Grand Slams or ATP 1000 Masters events. It started with an elbow injury in 2003 during a practice session. In the 2004 season, he could not play the French Open (for the second time), Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Paris Masters due to ankle injuries.

Nadal, who started out as a young prodigy, then injured the sole on his left foot towards the end of the 2005 season, which is considered to be his breakout one. It prevented him from playing in the Paris Masters and the Tennis Masters Cup (now ATP Finals) apart from Indian Wells at the start of the year. Those were tough times for Nadal who started the 2006 season late because he could not participate in the Australian Open. In the same season, he once again missed out on the Madrid Masters and Paris Masters tournaments.

A similar pattern of playing style and injuries can also be seen in Carlos Alcaraz’s case. The young Spaniard will be turning 21 next month. He has missed out on a minimum of 5 major events due to injuries in his career. These do not include the likes of Acapulco Open 2023, Basel Open 2023 and Rio Open 2024, which are ATP 500 events.

Alcaraz had missed the Rome Masters 2022 because of an ankle injury and after that, the ATP Finals in the same season due to a torn oblique muscle.

Alcaraz carried that injury into the start of the 2023 season, which is why he skipped the Australian Open that year. A few months later, he suffered injuries in his spine and his left hand, which is why he had to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Masters as well.

In the 2024 season, Alcaraz has already missed missed out on Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open due to an injury in his right arm. The same injury could make him unavailable to defend another title which he won in 2023, the Madrid Masters.

While the young Spaniard has skipped lesser number of tournaments as compared to Rafael Nadal, it is important to note that the latter began playing as a 15-year-old and had won 20 titles before turning 21.

On the other hand, Carlos Alcaraz has won 13 titles and is unlikely to add to his tally before May 5, 2024 as he will turn 21 on that day. But Alcaraz has shown injury tendencies far too often in a year age, that too of varying types and that is a major cause of concern as he aims to battle competition from the likes of Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev for the World No.1 spot.

Post Edited By:Dhruv Rupani

About the author

Aravind Sekhar

Aravind Sekhar


Aravind Sekhar is a Tennis Journalist at The SportsRush. He has been following Tennis since 2010. While not following the sport online, he plays the game and works on improving his one handed backhand. He has completed his Masters in Applied Sociology. Apart from writing, he is passionate about picking up interesting statistics on players from the WTA and ATP tours.

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