When Rafael Nadal was eliminated from the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals on Tuesday night, history was made. Nineteen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest ATP Presented by Pepperstone year-end No. 1 in history (since 1973), making him the first teenager to accomplish the feat.
The Spaniard has enjoyed an unforgettable rise in 2022, rising from World No. 32 earlier in the year to the top of men's tennis on September 12. That's the biggest jump to No. 1 in 50 year-end editions of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Before this year, the youngest year-end ATP No. 1 was Lleyton Hewitt, who was 20 years, 275 days old when he did so in 2001. Alcaraz will turn 19 years, 214 days on December 5, the year-end ranking year 2022 date after the last ATP Challenger Tour events of the season.
Alcaraz is the 18th ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone in history and the first outside the Big Four of Novak Djokovic (7), Roger Federer (5), Nadal (5) and Andy Murray (1) since Andy Roddick in 2003. The 19-year-old joins Nadal (2008, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019) as Spanish number 1 at the end of the year.
2021 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Intesa Sanpaolo caused a sensation this year when he became the youngest ATP 500 champion in series history (since 2009) at the Rio Open presented by Claro. The Spaniard followed that victory with his first ATP Masters 1000 triumph in Miami.
Alcaraz led the Tour with two Masters 1000 crowns (Miami and Madrid) and five overall titles in 2022. In Madrid, he knocked out Nadal, Djokovic and then-No.3 Alexander Zverev in consecutive games to lift the trophy. Alcaraz's biggest title run was at the US Open, where he became the youngest men's singles winner at the US Major since 19-year-old Pete Sampras in 1990.
It was an honor for Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz was present at the Pala Alpitour Arena in Italy's Turin on Wednesday to collect his maiden year-end World No. 1 trophy. "It's incredible that for so many years it was Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, or Murray, and then a 19-year-old 'Chico' comes along and succeeds in this.
It means so much to me. Being a part of tennis history alongside these legends is just an incredible feeling," Carlos Alcaraz said. "All my life, I have gone with Rafa and here also, I wanted him to win. Even if he had taken the number 1 from me, I would have been happy. I was hoping Djokovic would win against Tsitsipas because I also have a good relationship with Novak," he added.