Carlos Alcaraz beats Rafael Nadal by three years
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 1335
Lleyton Hewitt was 20 years and ten months old when he conquered the year-end no. 1 honor in 2001. The record felt firmly in the Aussie's hands before Carlos Alcaraz raised the bar in 2022 and became the first teenager on the year-end no.
1 spot! The Spaniard claimed three notable titles this season and used some generous circumstances to get to the top and remain there by the end of the season. Thus, Carlos wrote history books and beat Rafael Nadal's achievement by three years.
Nadal had to wait until 2008 to secure his first year-end no. 1 honor at 22 years and six months. Alcaraz took the ATP throne after conquering his first Major at the US Open in September, staying at the top for over three months despite a slow finish of the season.
The youngster made impressive progress through the ATP list in the past three years. Carlos kicked off the 2022 season from just outside the top-30 and wished to conclude it in the top-15. Instead, he became the world's best player after the season's last Major.
The young Spaniard suffered a tight loss to Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open. In February, Carlos conquered his first ATP 500 crown in Rio de Janeiro as the youngest winner on that level since 2009.
Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest year-end No.
The young gun pushed Rafael Nadal to the limits in the Indian Wells semi-final before losing after over three hours. Carlos fixed that in Miami and became the third-youngest Masters 1000 champion after Michael Chang and Rafael Nadal!
Alcaraz did not have to wait too long to lift another notable trophy. He conquered Barcelona at the end of April for back-to-back ATP 500 titles and a place in the top-10 at 18. Not stopping there, the youngster lifted another Masters 1000 trophy in front of the home fans in Madrid after impressive wins over Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev within three days!
Carlos became the world no. 1 contender and added more valuable points with the Roland Garros quarter-final. Alcaraz lost back-to-back ATP finals on clay in July and came to the US Open as world no. 4. He saved a match point in the quarter-final thriller against Jannik Sinner to remain on the title course.
Carlos overpowered Frances Tiafoe in the semi-final and advanced to his first Major final at 19. Alcaraz fought for the ATP throne and a Major title against Casper Ruud and scored a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 triumph in three hours and 20 minutes.
After this incredible success, the Spaniard slowed down a bit and rested his body. Carlos lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Basel semi-final and reached the quarter-final in Paris. He injured his left abdominal wall against his coeval Holger Rune and retired in the second set's closing stages.
Alcaraz revealed an abdominal muscle injury that sidelined him from the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals. Carlos is working hard on his return, hoping to play at 100% at the Australian Open and seek his second consecutive Major title.