Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz wrote his name in history books on Sunday night when he claimed his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open to become the youngest man to rise to the world no. 1 ranking. The 19-year-old showed tremendous grit in defeating Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/1) in the final. Alcaraz, the first teenager to claim the top ranking, is the youngest Grand Slam men’s champion since his idol Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open. He is also the youngest champion in New York since Pete Sampras in 1990.
“It feels great. My dream (has) come true. I have no words to describe the feeling now,” Carlos Alcaraz told NDTV. “I just had dinner with family and friends. We had a great time together. I will remember this win for the rest of my life. It was a top match and the nerves were there. It was something special.”
Alcaraz, who is being coached by former world no. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, said that right now he and his team are just enjoying the moment. “Right now we are not talking about the no. 1 ranking. We are enjoying the moment, enjoying the trophy. We had no time to talk about the future. We will have our time to take about it, the goals, the training,” he said.
He also gave an insight on how he reached the top. “Practising everyday, 100 per cent. Practice makes one perfect. Giving all your heart in every practice session, it helps you to stay at the same level for whole year,” he said.
The US Open is Alcaraz’s fifth trophy of 2022 following Masters triumphs in Miami and Madrid as well as Rio and Barcelona. It was in Madrid that he announced himself as a serious threat to the sport’s heavyweights when he became the first man to defeat Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the same claycourt event in Madrid.
“That moment was really special for me. It meant a lot to me. Beating Rafa and Djokovic in Madrid. It was unbelievable. My first tournament as a spectator, it was Madrid Open, when I was seven or eight years old. Beating Rafa, my idol, and Djokovic, world No.1, it was really special for me,” Alcaraz said. “Rafa inspires a lot of people around the world.”
On Sunday, he claimed the record for most time spent on court at a single Grand Slam, passing the 23 hours and 21 minutes it took Kevin Anderson to finish runner-up at Wimbledon in 2018. Most of his 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. He saved a match point in his five-hour 15-minute quarter-final win over Jannik Sinner. Still in his teens, his career earnings are already close to $10 million.
With AFP inputs
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