Before 3 a.m., the U.S. Open victory celebration at Carlos Alcaraz’s Manhattan hotel concluded. on Monday, which was early for him at this 24-hour Grand Slam tournament.
“I turned in at 5:15 a.m. after the Cilic match and at 6 a.m. “after the Sinner match,” he continued, moving his focus from his interlocutor to the cityscape outside the tinted windows as he sat in the rear seat of a sport utility vehicle.
He was rolling into Times Square for a date with his new trophy, and upon arrival, he went onto the pavement in his jeans and blue-and-white shoes and was soon carrying the silverware aloft as a throng started to form.
” someone yelled in Spanish.
Alcaraz took notice, just as he did on Monday morning after checking the revised ATP rankings on his smartphone.
“I needed to be certain,” he replied.
Alcaraz, who is 19 years old, is the youngest No. 1 since the ATP rankings were established in 1973. That is remarkable an accomplishment in a sport that has produced many prodigies, including Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, and Rafael Nadal, who also won his first major at age 19. (at the 2005 French Open).
But Alcaraz’s spectacular ascension to the top has not been only due to his brilliance, albeit the term should be used with extreme caution in tennis or any other sport.
The time of his coronation is also a factor:
Due to Novak Djokovic’s unwillingness to get vaccinated against Covid-19, he missed this year’s Australian and U.S. Opens. Open and four Masters 1000 competitions are held in North America.
Due to a series of ailments, Nadal’s schedule is constrained.
Due to Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players due of the conflict in Ukraine, the men’s and women’s circuits stripped the event of ranking points. Djokovic’s victory at Wimbledon in July did not win him any ranking points.
Alcaraz’s circumstances are vastly apart from those of Nadal, who, as the longstanding No. 2, had to pursue Roger Federer for years before achieving the top spot.
Alcaraz has achieved No. 1 before the completion of his second full season on tour and after winning his first major championship in four sets against Casper Ruud on Sunday.
I was fortunate, fortunate, or whatever you want to call it that Djokovic was unable to play. Everyone has their reasons, but the fact is as stated. He was unable to play for a period of time, and Rafa continued to play, but not all year. However, as previously said, I do not want to steal credit away from myself. I have been playing throughout the whole season, in fantastic matches and tournaments, and I have worked really hard so that this might occur.”
At the conclusion of 2021, Alcaraz was regarded as one of the game’s most promising young players and was rated 32nd. In less than nine months, he has won the Rio Open, the Miami Open, the Barcelona Open, the Madrid Open, and now the U.S. Grand Slam. Open.
Along the way, he has defeated the old guard, such as Nadal and Djokovic in Madrid, and the young generation, such as the 21-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, the 24-year-old American Frances Tiafoe, and the 23-year-old Dutchman Ruud in New York.
Alcaraz saved a match point in the fourth set in his quarterfinal encounter against Sinner, which was the best match of the tournament. The match lasted five sets, five hours, and fifteen minutes.
It was also the latest-ending match in American history. Open history, concluding at 2:50 a.m., which is significant but also a questionable distinction, despite the fact that the tournament gave him with a commemorative photograph of that record-setting match on Sunday.