Considered the next big thing in men’s tennis, Carlos Alcaraz used his combination of determination and maturity to beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3 in the U.S. Open final on Sunday to earn his first Grand Slam title at age of 19 and become the youngest man to be ranked No. 1 in ATP rankings.
The 19-year-old has become the youngest Grand Slam champion since countryman Rafael Nadal, 19, lifted the trophy at Roland Garros in 2005, while he is the youngest U.S. Open titlist since Pete Sampras, 19, in 1990.
Alcaraz arrived at Flushing Meadows as the World No. 4. However, he leaves the hard-court major in the top spot, becoming the youngest player to rise to the top of the ATP Rankings (since 1973).
Alcaraz has also equalled the biggest jump to No. 1, while he is the fourth Spaniard to climb to the top, joining coach Ferrero, Carlos Moya and Nadal.
“It is something I have dreamt of since I was a kid. To be No. 1 in the world, to be champion of a Grand Slam, is something I have worked really, really hard for,” Alcaraz said during the trophy ceremony.
“It is tough to talk right now, I have lots of emotions. This is something I have tried to achieve. All the hard work I have done with my team and my family. I am just 19 years old, all the tough decisions have been with my parents and my team as well. It is something that is really special for me.”
Alcaraz won three consecutive five-set matches to reach his first Grand Slam final, spending 20 hours and 19 minutes on court across six matches en route to the final. However, he showed little sign of tiredness to defeat Ruud.
“There is no time to be tired in the final rounds of a Grand Slam…You have to be ready and give everything you have inside. It is something I work really hard for,” Alcaraz was quoted as saying by ATP.
Alcaraz’s opponent Casper Ruud also praised his game and said the tennis star is destined for greatness.
Ruud stated, “He’s one of these few rare talents that comes up every now and then in sports. That’s what it seems like. Let’s see how his career develops, but it’s going all in the right direction.”
“Things have been going so well. Today was a special evening,” Ruud said during the trophy ceremony.
“Both Carlos and I knew what we were playing for and what was at stake. We will be No. 2 and No. 1 in the world tomorrow, I think it is fitting. I am disappointed of course that I am not No. 1, but No. 2 is not bad either. I am happy with that number and I will continue to chase for my first Grand Slam title and No. 1 ranking.”