Rafael Nadal had been the leader of the ATP Race for eight months. Rafa skipped the last year's second half due to a foot injury, returning stronger at the beginning of 2022. Nadal made an incredible comeback in the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev, trailing 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before prevailing in five sets after five hours and 24 minutes.
Thus, the Spaniard claimed his first Australian Open crown in 13 years and sat at the top of the ATP Race for the first time in a long time. Rafa conquered the ATP 500 event in Acapulco over Medvedev and Cameron Norrie, remaining perfect in 2022 and heading to Indian Wells as the favorite.
Nadal experienced a fractured rib and could not do much against Taylor Fritz in the title clash, losing for the first time this year and skipping Monte Carlo and Barcelona. The Spaniard returned in Madrid and Rome and did not play his best tennis, struggling with a foot injury and gathering dark clouds over his Roland Garros preparation.
As many times before, Nadal was a player to beat in Paris, receiving injections ahead of every match and toppling seven rivals to secure the 22nd Major title! Rafa defeated Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud en route to his 14th Roland Garros trophy, cementing his ATP Race lead and becoming the year-end no.
1 favorite. Nadal did not receive points for the Wimbledon semi-final, leaving London with an abdominal injury that jeopardized his hard-court summer swing. Rafa skipped Montreal and suffered an early loss in Cincinnati to Borna Coric.
With no form or matches, the Spaniard suffered the fourth-round loss to Frances Tiafoe, losing a chance to become world no. 1 at 36. On the other hand, the 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz was ready to challenge his great compatriot following incredible results, unseen at that age since Rafa himself!
Carlos Alcaraz leads the ATP Race ahead of Rafael Nadal.
Carlos used his chances and passed Rafa as the ATP Race leader after the US Open, building a 650 points advantage over the 22-time Major winner and becoming the year-end no.
1 favorite! The young gun suffered a tight Australian Open loss to Matteo Berrettini before conquering the ATP 500 event in Rio de Janeiro. Carlos lost the Indian Wells semi-final to Rafa after a fantastic battle and moved two steps further in Miami to become the third-youngest Masters 1000 champion!
The young Spaniard lifted the trophy in Barcelona at the end of April for 500 points on his tally and a place in the top-10. Not stopping there, Alcaraz defeated Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev en route to his second Masters 1000 title within a month and a half in Madrid.
Carlos became the ATP Race leader contender and added more points with the quarter-final run at Roland Garros. Alcaraz lost two ATP finals in Hamburg and Umag on clay and traveled to New York as one of the favorites. Carlos was world no.
4 ahead of the US Open and had a chance to become the youngest world no. 1 in ATP history. As we already said, Nadal fell in the fourth round and left the door wide open for Alcaraz and Casper Ruud to pass him. Alcaraz and Ruud met in the US Open final, battling for the first Major title and the ATP throne.
Carlos scored a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 win in three hours and 20 minutes for a career-best result and a place in history. At 19 years and four months, Alcaraz became the first teenager on the ATP throne. Also, he is in the driving seat to take the year-end no. 1 honor, building a healthy lead over the rest of the field and hoping to confirm it in Astana, Basel, Paris and Turin.