MADRID – The young Spanish tennis player, Carlos Alcaraz, aged 19, won his first grand slam title in New York on Sunday and is now at the top of the world rankings. He is also the youngest number one in the world.
To win his first major title, Carlos Alcaraz defeated the admirable Casper Ruud in four sets. Second, at 19 years and 130 days, he became by far the youngest man to take first place in the world rankings. He broke Lleyton Hewitt’s record by more than 16 months.
Third – and perhaps most important for the future of tennis – Alcaraz won the match in front of 24,000 fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium as if he were an American, or as if he were a recognized celebrity like his compatriot Rafael Nadal.
“He expresses joy as he plays”
The two best rallies of the brilliant night were greeted by the crowd with a standing ovation. As John McEnroe put it in his commentary to ESPN, “He expresses joy as he plays, almost better than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
During the first week of the US Open, Serena Williams provided the intensity of a Grand Slam final on three separate nights. During the second week, Alcaraz took the lead, battling out three consecutive five-set thrillers en route to the final.
All told, the young Spaniard spent 23 hours and 40 minutes on the track. That was another new record. Namely 20 minutes longer than Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon 2018.
Unprecedented high tennis level
In the crucial match, both Carlos Alcaraz and Norwegian Ruud climbed to an unprecedented high tennis level. In the end, the Spaniard sprinted to his 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory in 3 hours and 20 minutes. He lay down on the pitch in the approved manner, before climbing into the crowd for a group hug with his family and finally with his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, who was once the world number one himself. Then he leaned back in his chair, tears streaming down his cheeks, and thought about the people who couldn’t have been there. Like his mother and his grandfather. “I thought of them. Our team is here, but many people from my family couldn’t come and I thought of them all.
Carlos Alcaraz: “Very special to me”
Alcaraz emphasized how he owed this dream to them since he was a child. “To be the number 1 in the world, to be a grand slam champion. All the hard work from my team, my family – and I are only 19 years old, so the hard decisions are with my parents and my team. This is very, very special to me”.
Fellow tennis player Rafa Nadal congratulated the young Alcaraz on Twitter:
Felicidades @carlosalcaraz por tu primer Grand Slam y por el número 1 que es el colofón a tu primera gran temporada que estoy seguro serán muchas más! 👏🏻
Great effort @CasperRuud98 !very proud of you! Tough luck today but amazing tournament and season! Keep going!
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) September 11, 2022
This year, the US Open attracted a record number of 776,120 visitors.