The world has a new tennis star today. And his name is Carlos Alcaraz.
Yesterday, the 19-year-old Spanish tennis star beat Casper Ruud in the US Open men’s final in four sets. And with the win, he became the youngest world number one in history and the youngest Grand Slam champion since 2005.
And while he was favored to win—not just by his ranking, but also with majority of the fans cheering for him in Arthur Ashe—there were moments where Alcaraz could have lost it all.
But, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about him, it’s that no one has been able to make a comeback quite like him in the last two incredibly thrilling weeks.
The final match
Within the first two sets of the final match, we weren’t sure who was going to win. At first, it looked like Carlos Alcaraz had the advantage, as he was able to get an early break in the first set and take control. He remained confident in his shots and took set one, 6-4. However, the energy shifted in the second set.
Casper Ruud, determined to come back from giving up the first set and taking advantage of the Spaniard’s failed shots, was able to easily take the second set, 6-2.
The Norwegian also looked poised to take the third set of the match. As he held the lead with 6-5 games in his favor, he was able to create two set points. But, as we have leanred, Alcaraz knows how to answer back.
Coming back like no other
In the third-seed’s semifinal match, Jannik Sinner was already serving for the match in the fourth set, 5-4. But, Alcaraz amazingly came back to win three games in a row and eventually, to win the match. Had Sinner stuck out his championship point, we wouldn’t be talking about the Spanish youngster today.
We saw that same energy in the third set against Ruud. The Norwegian created an opportunity for a set point, but Alcaraz saved himself with a forehand drop volley. Later on, Ruud again went on to create another opportunity to take the third. But with another set point on the line, the Spaniard took confidence in his volley to save himself another time.
The third set went to a tiebreak, where Ruud was unable to keep up with Alcaraz’s shots. The 19-year-old won the tiebreak easy, 7-1. And the fourth set told the same story.
When the teenager got hold of his first championship point, his forehand shot went long, keeping Ruud still in the match. But, facing his second championship point, where he should have been anxious, he had nothing but confidence. He won the 2022 US Open with an ace. The crowd roaring, Alcaraz fell to the floor—as he should after playing a total of nearly 24 hours on the court.
In the end, Alcaraz’s speed, confidence, and endless energy kept him in the game even when circumstances were against his favor.
Carlos Alcaraz’s win at the US Open marks the beginning of a new era in men’s tennis. This was his first Grand Slam title appearance, his first Grand Slam championship, and his first time reaching number one in the world.
All in one go, he achieved a treble.
And as much as Carlos Alcaraz reached many new firsts personally, he is also a breath of fresh air for the tennis world. He is now the youngest world number one in tennis history. In addition, he is the youngest men’s Grand Slam champion in 17 years, since Rafael Nadal won the 2005 French Open.
The next generation is here
While there have been several youngsters that have impressed on the Grand Slam stage in the last several years, none have been quite as impressive as Carlos Alcaraz. Throughout the past twenty years, three names have dominated the sport: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic.
But, I think what makes Carlos Alcaraz special is that he seems unfazed by the greats that have gone before him. He seems to remain calm in the face of pressure and doesn’t seem burdened by the title of ‘the next Nadal’—he just shows up to the court and does what he does best. End of story.
And it’s that same kind of confidence that drove tennis’ big three to dominating the scene, robbing an entire generation of Grand Slam champions. But Alcaraz will not be one of them. Many believe this win will be the first of many, many more to come.
And this time, we can say it with confidence. Because even as Carlos went on an incredible journey throughout the last two weeks, continuously climbing all the way to the top, the spotlight seemed to have changed nothing. Even in the hullaballoo of his first Grand Slam win, he made sure to celebrate with the people who mattered most to him.
With the new names coming up in the tennis scene and our newest Grand Slam champion, we are definitely entering a brand new era for the sport. And we can’t wait to see what it has in store for us.