Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz celebrates with the trophy after winning the US Open and becoming the world’s top ranking male tennis player [Mike Segar/Reuters]
Published in AlJazeera, on Sep 12th, 2022,
Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam men’s champion since fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open.
Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz has won his first Grand Slam title and become the youngest male tennis player to secure the the world number one ranking.
The 19-year-old beat Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 in the final of the US Open on Sunday.
Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam men’s champion since Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open, and the youngest US Open champion since Pete Sampras in 1990.
“This is something that I dreamed of since I was a kid – to be number one in the world, to be a champion of a Grand Slam,” said Alcaraz, who fell to his back and cupped his hands to his face before jumping up to embrace Ruud at the net after winning the match.
He then climbed past photographers and into the stands to celebrate in his box with his team.
“This is something that I worked really really hard for. It’s tough to talk right now, a lot of emotions.”
Alcaraz, who thrilled fans during the two-week tournament in New York with his acrobatic play, replaced Russian Daniil Medvedev at the top of the rankings.
He is the youngest world number one since the ATP rankings began in 1973, breaking the mark set by Lleyton Hewitt, who was 20 when he became number one in 2001.
Alcaraz had a difficult path to the title and also claimed the record for most time spent on the court at a single Grand Slam event.
Most of the 23 hours and 40 minutes were taken up by the more than 13 hours it took him to play three successive five-setters to reach the final.
“I always say that there is no time to be tired in the final round of a Grand Slam or any tournament,” said Alcaraz. “You have to give everything you have inside.”
Fellow Spaniard Nadal congratulated the player widely seen as his heir apparent.
“Congratulations @carlosalcaraz for your first Grand Slam and for number 1, which is the culmination of your great season, which I am sure will be many more,” he tweeted.
Ruud was trying to become the first Norwegian to capture the top spot but was unable to match Alcaraz’s power.
A finalist at the French Open where he was beaten by Nadal, Ruud is now second in the world from number seven.
“Today was a special evening for both Carlos and I. We knew what was at stake,” Rudd said.
“Number two is not too bad either. I will continue to chase for my first Grand Slam and the number one world ranking.”