Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz lead ATP Race



by JOVICA ILIC

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz lead ATP Race

The most prominent youngster on the ATP Tour, Carlos Alcaraz, was born on May 5, 2003. By then, the 16-year-old Rafael Nadal had already scored two Masters 1000 wins in Monte Carlo and kicked off his Masters 1000 journey. Nineteen years later, Rafa and Carlos are the leaders of the ATP Race after the season's opening three months, putting Spain above other countries.

With 3350 points under his belt, the 35-year-old Nadal is by far the best player in 2022, securing three titles from four finals. Missing the second part of the previous season due to a foot injury, Rafa made an incredible comeback in Melbourne in January.

The Spaniard claimed an ATP 250 trophy and his second Australian Open, the first since 2009! Nadal trailed 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 in the Australian Open final to Daniil Medvedev and headed to Melbourne's fifth straight final loss!

Unwilling to surrender, Rafa made one of his most brilliant comebacks in a career and scored a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory in five hours and 24 minutes. Thus, the Spaniard claimed the record-breaking 21st Major crown and moved in front of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

With a boost on his side, Nadal secured the fourth Acapulco title without losing a set, beating Daniil Medvedev and Cameron Norrie for his third title from as many tournaments this year. Chasing the fourth consecutive title in Indian Wells, Nadal reached the title clash and extended his season's best start in a career.

In the title clash, Rafa fell to Taylor Fritz and failed to add 400 more points to his already impressive tally. Struggling with a fractured rib, the Spaniard withdrew from Miami and Monte Carlo and missed a chance to chase more titles, especially on his beloved clay.

An 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz is second in the ATP Race, 1400 points behind his great compatriot.

Rafael Nadal leads the ATP Race after winning three titles from four finals.

Carlos is 18-2 in 2022, suffering his only losses to Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open and Nadal in Indian Wells.

Alcaraz conquered Rio de Janeiro as the youngest ATP 500 champion since the start of that series in 2009. Alcaraz pushed Nadal to the limits in the Indian Wells semi-final before falling in three sets. The youngster gained a boost and went all the way in Miami to claim the first Masters 1000 crown and become the third-youngest champion at that level after Michael Chang and Rafael Nadal!

Carlos is 50 points ahead of Daniil Medvedev in the ATP Race, and they are 400 points clear of the Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz, who stands fourth. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud are the remaining players with at least 1000 points in 2022 and the early contenders for the Turin berth.

Rafael Nadal Carlos Alcaraz