Carlos Alcaraz makes ‘outrageous pay demand’ to appear at ATP tournament

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Carlos Alcaraz will not play at the Vienna Open ATP 500 tournament next week as his requested appearance fee is reportedly ‘too expensive’. The Spaniard was hoping to bow out of 2023 on a high by closing the gap on world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, but he looks set to fall short of achieving that target at this stage.

Alcaraz was expected to feature at the other ATP 500 tournament next week in Basel, Switzerland. However, the 20-year-old recently withdrew from the event after sustaining an injury to his left foot and having to continue to nurse muscle fatigue in his back.

Vienna Open tournament director Herwig Straka has revealed that he did hold discussions about potentially welcoming Alcaraz next week but ultimately ruled the idea out due to the finances involved. Instead, the budget was used to create a ‘dense’ tournament with plenty of depth.

According to Der Standard, Alcaraz would only compete if he received a fee of £654,544 (€750,000), which was ruled ‘too expensive’ by Straka. As a result, the budget was used to welcome top 10 stars like Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas, among others, to Austria.

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Straka will be hoping that the competition is a roaring success given the hard work of his team to improve the venue, Wiener Stadthalle. Several key changes have been made to improve the facilities, with a new lighting system being installed and the court being made brighter.

With an improved venue now available, Straka and his team are hoping that they will attract new fans to the sport – especially with several Austrian players now competing at the very highest level. He explained: “The successes of Austrians are at best the cherry on the cake.

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“Once you have reached a certain size, there is no alternative to growth. You have to invest, come up with something new. And you have to ensure that the starting field remains world-class.”

It remains to be seen whether Alcaraz’s reported appearance fees cause the Spaniard issues further down the line or if his willingness to constantly compete will override the monetary factor. The world No. 2 has his heart set on leapfrogging Djokovic in the rankings and he will need to ensure that he hits the ground running in 2024, having been limited to winning one Grand Slam this year – at Wimbledon.

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