Carlos Alcaraz US Open 2021

‘I had no choice to still play the match,’ says a disappointed Carlos Alcaraz

Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz said it was ‘tough’ to end the US Open with his retirement against Felix Auger-Aliassime and said he had ‘no choice’ but to withdraw.

The 18-year-old has been one of the stories of the tournament, catching the eye of tennis fans across the world with his five-set victory over third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

However, another five-setter against Peter Gojowczyk in the fourth round took its toll on the Spaniard, who had nothing left in the tank in his quarter-final against Canadian star Auger-Aliasisme.

Regardless, the Spaniard made history by becoming the tournament’s youngest men’s quarter-finalist in the Open Era.

“It’s really tough to end a great tournament like this. I had no choice to still play,” Alcaraz said.

“First of all I have to take care of my body to stay healthy. It’s a long match and I didn’t feel good to still play, so I had to retire.

“To play two matches [that went to] fifth sets in a row, play on a great level, in a great intensity [for] four hours, it was really tough for me,” Alcaraz said. “I am not used to playing these kind of matches in a row. I think it was really tough to recover [for] the next matches.”

The Spaniard had made a meteoric rise up the ATP rankings, with the 18-year-old ranked outside the top 200 12 months ago before entering Flushing Meadows this year as world number 55.

“These matches gave me a lot of experience, so I think this tournament made me mature a lot. I think I played great tennis for me,” Alcaraz said.

“I’m really happy to play a first quarter-final in a Grand Slam. I think this tournament’s going to be a great experience for me for the next tournaments.”

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.