For five #NextGenATP stars (players 21 and under), the first quarter of the 2022 ATP Tour season was a time for career-best wins, breakthrough starts and titles at both the Tour and Challenger levels. Eighteen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz lifted his first ATP Masters 1000 and ATP 500 trophies, while Jannik Sinner reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Miami Open presented by Itau.
Czech Jiri Lehecka and Italian Lorenzo Musetti made their mark at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and Britain's Jack Draper tasted success on the ATP Challenger Tour. No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, 1,950 points The Spaniard began the 2022 season the same way he ended 2021, winning titles and earning notable victories against members of the Top 10.
Alcaraz capped off a breakout 2021 campaign by lifting the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals trophy in Milan and wasting no time making his mark at the Australian Open in his first tournament of the year. After overcoming Alejandro Tabilo and Dusan Lajovic, the 18-year-old pushed World No.
6 Matteo Berrettini to a fifth-set tiebreak in one of the season's matches. If his run in Melbourne didn't remind everyone of what he was capable of, then his performance in Rio de Janeiro certainly did. Alcaraz eliminated favorites Berrettini and Diego Schwartzman to become the youngest ATP 500 champion since the category was invented in 2009 at an event in which he had claimed his first tour-level victory just two years earlier.
Rafael Nadal is undoubtedly the invincible champion of red-dirt. His achievements on the surface will probably remain unmatched by any active or retired player yet. Such is his dominance on this surface that literally no one is close to catching up with his statistics.
Rafa won 21 Grand Slam titles
Tennis has always been an intense sport, but the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have showcased class in the way they have conducted themselves on the court. They have very few outbursts and have always remained respectful of their opponents.
Nadal spoke about how players are setting examples for millions of kids watching tennis, that they are young, impressionable and will conduct themselves the way professional tennis players do. "If we are not able to penalize these types of attitudes in a little stronger way, then we as players will feel stronger and stronger all the time.
In this sport, we have to be a positive example, especially for the kids. This type of attitude must be stopped because there are many children looking at us. Sport must maintain positive values and we have to be aware that we are role models for millions of children," Nadal said.