Nadal Says His ‘Old Machine’ Takes Time to Fire Up

Spain's Rafael Nadal talks to journalists during a press conference at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal talks to journalists during a press conference at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP)
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Nadal Says His ‘Old Machine’ Takes Time to Fire Up

Spain's Rafael Nadal talks to journalists during a press conference at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal talks to journalists during a press conference at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Monday, May 9, 2022. (AP)

Rafa Nadal's return to action after more than a month out due to injury saw him lose to teenager Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid quarter-finals but the 21-times Grand Slam champion always knew it would take some time for his "old machine" to fire up.

The Spaniard, sidelined by a rib injury at Indian Wells in March, hopes to build momentum in Rome before launching his campaign for a 14th French Open crown.

The 35-year-old Australian Open champion has endured a string of injuries during a career spanning more than two decades and he said he needed time to get his body up to speed.

"When you're six weeks without touching a racquet and having the chance to move your body ... my body is like an old machine. To put this machine on again it takes some time," Nadal told reporters before the Italian Open.

"It's not the same when you're 19 than when you are almost 36, with all the issues I went through in my career. You need to build again the confidence, your movements, then you start feeling comfortable with your tennis.

"It's more about being confident with my movements, recover the speed, recover the way that I have to play on clay and let's see. I'm confident that I can play well. I need time, but maybe this week can be a positive week, maybe not. Who knows?"

Nadal, a winner of three titles this year, lost to Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros semi-finals last year, just the third time he was beaten at the claycourt major since his debut there in 2005.

The Spaniard said he was doing all he can to be fully ready for the tournament, which starts on May 22.

"That's my goal ... I didn't have another chance to approach this claycourt season with the things I went through," he said. "I'm going to give myself a chance and we'll see what's going on."



Saudi Para-cycling Team Wins 1st Gold Medal at Asian Track Cycling Championships

 Bassam Almajrashi won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi. SPA
Bassam Almajrashi won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi. SPA
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Saudi Para-cycling Team Wins 1st Gold Medal at Asian Track Cycling Championships

 Bassam Almajrashi won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi. SPA
Bassam Almajrashi won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi. SPA

Bassam Almajrashi has won a gold medal in the Scratch Race - C4 at the Asian Para Track Cycling Championships held in New Delhi, India. His victory marks the first gold medal for the Saudi para-cycling team in Asia.
The championships, running from February 21 to 26, features the participation of 30 Asian athletes.
During the first day of the event, the Saudi para-cycling team also clinched the bronze medal in the Team Sprint, with Almajrashi, Rashid Al-Ahmary, and Mohammed Al-Mari delivering exceptional performances.


Injury-hit Liverpool Produce 'Fireworks' to Blow Away Luton

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah marked his return with a goal against Brentford © Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah marked his return with a goal against Brentford © Adrian DENNIS / AFP
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Injury-hit Liverpool Produce 'Fireworks' to Blow Away Luton

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah marked his return with a goal against Brentford © Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah marked his return with a goal against Brentford © Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Jurgen Klopp said his injury-ravaged Liverpool produced "fireworks" to come from a goal down to beat Luton 4-1 and open up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Wednesday.

Chiedozie Ogbene had given the Hatters a shock first-half lead against a Liverpool side missing Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota among others.

Dutch international duo Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo turned the game on its head in two minutes just before the hour mark before Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliott secured the win.

Victory takes Klopp's men four points clear of Manchester City and five ahead of third-placed Arsenal, but having played a game more than both their title rivals.

"How the stadium and team together changed that game is exceptional," said Klopp, AFP reported.

"We just have to be calmer in the decisive moments Once we became calmer there were fireworks. My word they were fantastic goals. It is a fantastic night."

Liverpool's squad was already stretched by injuries prior to loss of Curtis Jones, Jota and Nunez in the first-half of Saturday's 4-1 win at Brentford.

Salah scored on his return from a hamstring injury at the weekend, but was forced on as a substitute earlier than planned and suffered a setback that kept him out.

Klopp was already without Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara due to injury and the Reds were forced to work harder for the three points than they would have wished just days before Sunday's League Cup final against Chelsea.

However, Salah and Nunez could be fit in time to feature at Wembley.

"We have to see, but I said it before the game as long as we have 11 players we will go for it," added Klopp.

Luton held Liverpool 1-1 when the sides met at Kenilworth Road in November and have made a habit of ruffling the feathers of the Premier League's elite on their return to the top flight.

However, the visitors barely posed a threat other than when they went in front on 12 minutes.

Tahith Chong burst into the Liverpool box and when his powerful shot was parried by the legs of Caoimhin Kelleher, Ogbene headed in at the far post.

All of Liverpool's chances before the break fell to Diaz, but the Colombian was wasteful with his six shots on goal.

Klopp was whipping up the Anfield crowd at every opportunity and his side finally opened the floodgates on 56 minutes.

Captain Van Dijk led by example as he shrugged off his marker to power in Alexis Mac Allister's corner.

"The reaction shown today was outstanding and something we need for the rest of the season," said Van Dijk. "Today was a big one!"

Mac Allister was the creator again seconds later as Luton again switched off from a dead ball.

Conor Bradley's throw-in picked out the Argentine midfielder and his volleyed cross was headed in by Gakpo.

Only some heroics from Thomas Kaminski denied Gakpo and Van Dijk their second goals of the night as Liverpool continued to surge forward, even with the lead.

And an animated Klopp could finally relax 19 minutes from time when Diaz this time kept his composure to slot home his 10th goal of the season.

Elliott then rounded off the scoring on his 100th Liverpool appearance by blasting a loose ball into the top corner.

Defeat leaves Luton still in the relegation zone on goal difference.

"In the second half we played into their hands and their counter pressing was incredible, we experienced that full throttle football," said Luton boss Rob Edwards.

"We knew today was going to be a really big task. We showed for long periods we are a good team and we can compete."


Messi the Creator as Miami Win In MLS Opener

Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the club's MLS season-opening victory over Real Salt Lake - AFP
Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the club's MLS season-opening victory over Real Salt Lake - AFP
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Messi the Creator as Miami Win In MLS Opener

Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the club's MLS season-opening victory over Real Salt Lake - AFP
Inter Miami's Argentine forward Lionel Messi controls the ball during the club's MLS season-opening victory over Real Salt Lake - AFP

Lionel Messi created both goals as Inter Miami made a winning start to the new Major League Soccer season with a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

The Argentine World Cup winner, who played the entire game, put aside any concerns about his early season fitness with an excellent performance for the bookmakers' title favorites.

"He looked loose, fine and showed a lot of speed," coach Gerardo Martino said of Messi, who missed the back end of last season for Miami with injuries and was also sidelined for part of the pre-season.

The other three members of Miami's former Barcelona quartet, debutant Luis Suarez, midfielder Sergio Busquets and left-back Jordi Alba, all started in front of a capacity crowd.

Against a cautious Salt Lake side, Messi went close to opening the scoring in the 18th minute with a curling free-kick from 30 yards out which was headed off the line by Justen Glad.

He then brought huge cheers from the crowd when, on the edge of the box, his route was blocked by a player down on the floor, but he chipped the ball over him and let loose a shot which was blocked.

But Miami got in front when Spaniard Sergio Busquets found Messi and the eight-times Ballon d'Or winner cleverly slipped the ball through to Finnish forward Robert Taylor, whose low shot beat RSL keeper Zac MacMath.

The goalkeeper should have kept the effort out but it was a goal which forced the visitors to open up after the interval and their more aggressive approach caused Inter some problems.

Cristian Arango blasted a half-chance high over the bar for Salt Lake and then, after Busquets sloppily gave the ball away, Andres Gomez burst goalwards but the Colombian winger fired wide, AFP reported.

The Utah side should have made more of the space they found as Miami struggled in the early stages of the second half but paid the price for a lack of precision.

Sensing his team needed another goal or two to make sure of the points, Messi upped his work-rate and began to take control of the game.

Dropping deeper to collect the ball, he launched several attacks with his own swift bursts forward allied with his trademark close control.

The 36-year-old weaved down the inside left channel to find space for a cross to the back post to Julian Gressel but the German put his effort wide from the tight angle.

Then Messi burst again from deep and found Suarez who picked out Diego Gomez and the Paraguayan midfielder buried his shot low into the far corner to make it 2-0.

That trio almost combined again for a third with Messi slipping to Gomez who then served Suarez but the Uruguayan's effort was saved by the outstretched leg of MacMath.

Martino was delighted to see two of the lesser heralded members of his cast on target.

"This is what should happen with a team. Normally Luis and Leo would be the ones most associated with the goal, but the fact that Robert and Diego have converted and (Messi and Suarez) have been the assistants is always a positive thing," he said.

The former Argentina, Mexico and Barcelona coach said he was sure that Messi and Suarez would be able to recapture some of the magic they had shown during their seasons at the Camp Nou.

"They know each other so well but we have to find that partnership that worked already in Barcelona," he said.

For Taylor, who enjoyed a rich spell of form immediately after Messi joined the club and was a key part of the team which won the Leagues Cup, it was a positive opening to the campaign.

"It's the start we wanted, I mean, there's still some things that we need to work on. Obviously, it's the first game of the season, but the positive thing is the three points and we'll build on this," he said.

Inter Miami return to action on Sunday at Los Angeles Galaxy.


Ronaldo Scores As Al Nassr Ease Into Champions League Quarters

Cristiano Ronaldo scored late as Al Nassr swept into the Asian Champions League quarter-finals - AFP
Cristiano Ronaldo scored late as Al Nassr swept into the Asian Champions League quarter-finals - AFP
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Ronaldo Scores As Al Nassr Ease Into Champions League Quarters

Cristiano Ronaldo scored late as Al Nassr swept into the Asian Champions League quarter-finals - AFP
Cristiano Ronaldo scored late as Al Nassr swept into the Asian Champions League quarter-finals - AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo guided Al Nassr into the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday as the Saudi Arabian side defeated domestic rivals Al Fayha 2-0 to progress 3-0 on aggregate.

Nassr, who won last week's first leg 1-0 thanks to a Ronaldo goal nine minutes from time, were the better side at Al Awwal Park and took the lead on 17 minutes through Portuguese winger Otavio.

The former Porto star, who joined Nassr last summer, headed home from close range to score in his second successive game for the club.


Sports Boulevard Sponsors Saudi Cup, World’s Most Valuable Horse Race

The partnership was signed by JCSA chief executive Ziad Al-Mogren and SBF chief executive Jayne McGivern in the presence of Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, the chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the JCSA. SPA
The partnership was signed by JCSA chief executive Ziad Al-Mogren and SBF chief executive Jayne McGivern in the presence of Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, the chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the JCSA. SPA
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Sports Boulevard Sponsors Saudi Cup, World’s Most Valuable Horse Race

The partnership was signed by JCSA chief executive Ziad Al-Mogren and SBF chief executive Jayne McGivern in the presence of Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, the chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the JCSA. SPA
The partnership was signed by JCSA chief executive Ziad Al-Mogren and SBF chief executive Jayne McGivern in the presence of Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, the chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the JCSA. SPA

Sports Boulevard Foundation (SBF) signed a partnership with the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA), making Sports Boulevard an official sponsor for the Sports Boulevard Riyadh Dirt Sprint race, one of the races held in the evening of the 2024 Saudi Cup, the world's most valuable horse race.

The partnership was signed by JCSA chief executive Ziad Al-Mogren and SBF chief executive Jayne McGivern in the presence of Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, the chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the JCSA.

This is the second year of the Sports Boulevard’s official sponsorship with the Saudi Cup, which this year has a combined prize fund of more than $37.35 million -- an increase of $2 million from last year. The greatest racehorses, jockeys, trainers, and owners will be welcomed by the organizers.

“Alongside the Sports Boulevard sponsorship of Riyadh Season races, their mission to transform the city of Riyadh and offer state-of-the-art equestrian sports facilities aligns with our ambition of bringing more of Saudi Arabia’s residents into the sport,” said Al-Mogren.

“We look forward to collaborating with the Sports Boulevard to promote equestrian sports to people across Riyadh City.”

According to McGivern, “Creating access to grassroots sports for people across Riyadh and the Kingdom, including horse-riding and other equine activities, is something I am passionate about.”

“Horseracing has a deep-rooted history in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with thoroughbred horses descended from Arabian bloodlines. As a globally famous horse racing event, this partnership is the perfect platform to encourage community engagement,” said McGivern.

The Saudi Cup will take place on February 23 and 24 at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh. Through the partnership, visitors will have plenty of opportunities to find out more about the Sports Boulevard. Visitors to SBF’s booth will be able to learn more about how the megaproject will transform health and wellbeing in Riyadh.


Son Apologizes for Bust-up with South Korea Team-Mate Lee 

A woman watches a television screen showing a news broadcast with a picture of Son Heung-min (L) and Lee Kang-in (R), at a railway station in Seoul on February 21, 2024. (AFP)
A woman watches a television screen showing a news broadcast with a picture of Son Heung-min (L) and Lee Kang-in (R), at a railway station in Seoul on February 21, 2024. (AFP)
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Son Apologizes for Bust-up with South Korea Team-Mate Lee 

A woman watches a television screen showing a news broadcast with a picture of Son Heung-min (L) and Lee Kang-in (R), at a railway station in Seoul on February 21, 2024. (AFP)
A woman watches a television screen showing a news broadcast with a picture of Son Heung-min (L) and Lee Kang-in (R), at a railway station in Seoul on February 21, 2024. (AFP)

Son Heung-min apologized on Wednesday for his role in a bust-up with South Korea team-mate Lee Kang-in at the Asian Cup and urged fans to forgive the Paris Saint-Germain player.

South Korea were beaten 2-0 by Jordan at the tournament earlier this month and it later emerged that skipper Son had dislocated a finger in an altercation with Lee on the eve of the semi-final.

Both players released social media statements on Wednesday, with Tottenham's Son posting a picture of the pair together, smiling and with arms around each other's shoulders.

The 23-year-old attacking midfielder Lee, who has been blamed by fans for the fracas and dumped by advertisers, said that he had travelled to London to apologize to Son in person.

Addressing the controversy publicly for the first time, Son wrote in a statement on Instagram: "I am sincerely sorry for causing trouble and will work harder to make the national team grow further."

The incident at the Asian Cup reportedly happened after some younger players in the national squad, including rising star Lee, rushed through their meal so they could leave early to play table tennis.

This displeased Son and some of the older players because meals on the eve of big games are traditionally seen as a time for bonding.

As tension grew Lee tried to punch Son, local media reported. Lee's representatives denied a punch was thrown.

The altercation was cited as a factor in the dismissal last week of coach Jurgen Klinsmann after 12 months in the post.

"I think my actions could be criticized," Son wrote.

But he added: "I would do it again for the team if the same situation arrived because it's one of the captain's duties."

Lee has become public enemy number one since details of the flashpoint emerged, but Son said it was time to move on.

"Kang-in has been going through a very difficult time after the incident," Son wrote.

"Please forgive him with an open mind.

"Kang-in is sincerely reflecting on his actions and has apologized to me as well as every national team member."

Last week, Lee apologized and did so again on Wednesday.

"My short-sighted thoughts and improper behavior have let down Son, the national team and football fans," Lee said in an Instagram post published around the same time as Son's.

"Through a long conversation I came to understand the heavy responsibility that weighs on Son as captain and reflect on myself."


Christian Horner with Red Bull Team at Start of F1 Testing in Bahrain Despite Ongoing Investigation 

Red Bull Racing's team principal Christian Horner crosses the pit lane during the first day of the Formula One pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on February 21, 2024. (AFP)
Red Bull Racing's team principal Christian Horner crosses the pit lane during the first day of the Formula One pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on February 21, 2024. (AFP)
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Christian Horner with Red Bull Team at Start of F1 Testing in Bahrain Despite Ongoing Investigation 

Red Bull Racing's team principal Christian Horner crosses the pit lane during the first day of the Formula One pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on February 21, 2024. (AFP)
Red Bull Racing's team principal Christian Horner crosses the pit lane during the first day of the Formula One pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on February 21, 2024. (AFP)

Team principal Christian Horner was with Red Bull as Formula 1 preseason testing began Wednesday even as he faces an ongoing investigation by the team's parent company into an alleged claim of misconduct.

Horner was alongside the team's chief technology officer, car designer Adrian Newey, as Max Verstappen drove the team's new car at the start of Wednesday's morning session. It is the start of the Dutch driver's campaign for a fourth consecutive world title.

The Red Bull parent company said Feb. 5 it was investigating allegations of misconduct toward a team employee. Horner denies any wrongdoing and has continued in his role as team principal during the investigation.

There are three days of preseason testing from Wednesday through Friday ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix at the same venue next week.

Each day is split into two sessions, and teams can only have one driver on track in each. That meant Lewis Hamilton, who is leaving Mercedes at the end of the year to join Ferrari, was sitting out the first day as his teammate George Russell drove.

McLaren driver Lando Norris said he would wear a helmet with the design used by 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran, who died in December. De Ferran was McLaren's sporting director when Norris first raced in F1 in 2019 and had more recently been an adviser to the team.

“We lost someone really special to us at the end of last year, he was a dear friend of mine and he’d been with me pretty much since I came into Formula 1. Someone who I not only had many laughs and great times with, but someone who helped me out on and off the track whenever I needed it,” Norris posted on social media.

“This is the design he won the Indy 500 with, and I’ll be wearing it today as my little way to say thank you for everything and to let him know we’re thinking of him and he’s still very much part of McLaren. I hope you like it. This one is for you Gil.”


Bayern to Part Ways with Coach Thomas Tuchel at Season End 

Bayern Munich's head coach Thomas Tuchel gestures before the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart in Munich, Germany, 17 December 2023 (re-issued 21 February 2024). (EPA)
Bayern Munich's head coach Thomas Tuchel gestures before the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart in Munich, Germany, 17 December 2023 (re-issued 21 February 2024). (EPA)
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Bayern to Part Ways with Coach Thomas Tuchel at Season End 

Bayern Munich's head coach Thomas Tuchel gestures before the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart in Munich, Germany, 17 December 2023 (re-issued 21 February 2024). (EPA)
Bayern Munich's head coach Thomas Tuchel gestures before the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart in Munich, Germany, 17 December 2023 (re-issued 21 February 2024). (EPA)

Bayern Munich have decided to end their collaboration with coach Thomas Tuchel at the end of the current season despite a contract to 2025, the club said on Wednesday. 

Bayern lost their last three games in all competitions, including a 3-0 defeat to league leaders Bayer Leverkusen and have now dropped eight points behind them in the Bundesliga. 

They were also beaten 1-0 by Lazio in last week's Champions League last first leg. 

Tuchel had taken over in March 2023 from Julian Nagelsmann, but despite leading them to the Bundesliga title last season on the final matchday, they have not shown the form this season that saw them dominate German football for the past decade. 

Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen said there would be a "new direction" next season with a new coach. 

"In a good, open discussion, we came to the decision to end our working relationship by mutual agreement in the summer," Dreesen said. "Our goal is to pursue a new footballing direction with a new head coach for the 2024/25 season." 

"Until then, every individual at the club is expressly called upon to achieve the maximum possible in the Champions League and Bundesliga. I also explicitly hold the team accountable in this regard." 

The coach, who in the past had been in charge at Borussia Dortmund, Paris St Germain and also won a Champions League title with Chelsea in 2021, said his remaining time in Munich would be focused on the remaining goals in the Bundelsiga and the Champions League. 

His first full season at Bayern had been hit by a string of injuries to key players and by what he had said was a relatively thin squad at the start of the campaign despite the arrival of Bundesliga record signing Harry Kane. 

"We have agreed that we will end our working relationship at the end of this season," Tuchel said. "Until then, I will of course continue to do everything I can with my coaching staff to achieve maximum success." 

Bayern host RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga on Saturday. 


Alcaraz Retires Hurt from Rio Open Match Due to Ankle Injury 

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz (R) and Brazil's Carlos Monteiro (L) greet after Alcaraz abandoned the ATP 500 Rio Open tennis match due to an injury, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 20, 2024. (AFP)
Spain's Carlos Alcaraz (R) and Brazil's Carlos Monteiro (L) greet after Alcaraz abandoned the ATP 500 Rio Open tennis match due to an injury, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 20, 2024. (AFP)
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Alcaraz Retires Hurt from Rio Open Match Due to Ankle Injury 

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz (R) and Brazil's Carlos Monteiro (L) greet after Alcaraz abandoned the ATP 500 Rio Open tennis match due to an injury, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 20, 2024. (AFP)
Spain's Carlos Alcaraz (R) and Brazil's Carlos Monteiro (L) greet after Alcaraz abandoned the ATP 500 Rio Open tennis match due to an injury, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 20, 2024. (AFP)

Two-time major winner Carlos Alcaraz retired hurt from the Rio Open on Tuesday after two games due to a right ankle injury.

The retirement at 1-1 meant Brazil's Thiago Monteiro advanced to the second round. He will face his compatriot Felipe Meligeni Alves for a place in the quarterfinals.

Alcaraz twisted his ankle in the first game after only two points. He received medical attention, broke Monteiro's serve, but after the Brazilian pulled level he shook his rival's hand and left the court walking as his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero looked concerned.

The Spanish player said his doctors said the injury was not serious.

“These things happen, even more so on clay,” Alcaraz said, “It was not a problem of the court, I got injured as I switched direction. That happens in this kind of surface.”

Alcaraz said he does feel pain when he walks and that he will have medical scans on Wednesday.

“I came back to the game to see whether I could carry on or not. I spoke to the physio on the court and we decided together I should continue to see if this would get better. It didn't happen, so we chose to be careful and abandon due to precaution," he said.

Monteiro said it was strange to go through after playing so little time against Alcaraz.

“On the court it didn't look so serious, but then I saw it in the big screen and it was a bad twist. Now I can only cheer for him to recover, he is a star, a dominant one in the new generation,” the Brazilian said.

Alcaraz was the runner-up at the clay court tournament in Rio de Janeiro last year, and its winner in 2022.

The injury adds to Alcaraz's below-par performances at the Argentina Open last week. The 20-year-old, who won the title in 2023, was eliminated by Chile's Nicolás Jarry in the semifinals in Buenos Aires.

Earlier, three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka was beaten 7-5, 6-4 in the first round by Argentina's Facundo Díaz Acosta. The 23-year-old Díaz Acosta beat Jarry in the final to win his first title on Sunday at the Argentina Open.

Tuesday's match was delayed for almost two hours due to rain in Rio de Janeiro. Diaz Acosta's next opponent will be his compatriot Sebastián Báez.

The 38-year-old Wawrinka won the 2014 Australian Open, 2015 French Open and 2016 US Open, where he defeated the world No. 1 player in the final on all three occasions.

Díaz Acosta played in Argentina as a wild-card entry with a career-high ranking of 87. He rose to No. 59 on Monday.

“I had to have a lot of patience because of the rain,” Díaz Acosta said. “Stan is a legend, it was amazing to play against him.”


Jota Out for Months, Says Klopp, as Liverpool’s Injury Crisis Deepens

Football - Premier League - Brentford v Liverpool - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - February 17, 2024 Liverpool's Diogo Jota touches hands with Brentford's Sergio Reguilon as he is stretchered off after sustaining an injury. (Action Images via Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Brentford v Liverpool - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - February 17, 2024 Liverpool's Diogo Jota touches hands with Brentford's Sergio Reguilon as he is stretchered off after sustaining an injury. (Action Images via Reuters)
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Jota Out for Months, Says Klopp, as Liverpool’s Injury Crisis Deepens

Football - Premier League - Brentford v Liverpool - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - February 17, 2024 Liverpool's Diogo Jota touches hands with Brentford's Sergio Reguilon as he is stretchered off after sustaining an injury. (Action Images via Reuters)
Football - Premier League - Brentford v Liverpool - Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain - February 17, 2024 Liverpool's Diogo Jota touches hands with Brentford's Sergio Reguilon as he is stretchered off after sustaining an injury. (Action Images via Reuters)

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota will be missing for months because of injury, manager Jurgen Klopp said on Tuesday.

The Portugal international hurt his right knee in the first half of Liverpool's 4-1 win at Brentford in the English Premier League on Saturday.

“We have Diogo with a knee issue ruled out — it will obviously take months,” Klopp said ahead of Liverpool's home match against Luton on Wednesday.

The injury potentially threatens Jota's involvement in the European Championship in Germany starting in June.

Liverpool’s injury crisis has deepened, with nine senior players unavailable heading into a key period of the season that includes the English League Cup final against Chelsea on Sunday.

Klopp didn't give a return date for injured pair Curtis Jones or Alisson Becker and he described Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai as “longer term” problems. Striker Darwin Nunez was replaced at halftime against Brentford as a precaution.