(Madrid) When Carlos Alcaraz first competed at the Madrid Tennis Open at the age of 18, his goal was to gain experience and learn from the best players. Just one year later, Alcaraz already believes he has risen to the elite of his sport.
Posted at 2:39pm
The young Spanish men’s tennis sensation capped another impressive week with a resounding win over Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open final on Sunday.
After beating his idol Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals and then world number one Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, Alcaraz easily defeated world number three Zverev 6-3, 6-1.
“Last year I had this experience for the first time. Competing against the best players, taking part in the Masters 1000 and I learned a lot,” said Alcaraz.
“Now it’s different. I come onto the pitch knowing I can win, confident that I can win anytime. »
Alcaraz, who is just 19, became the youngest tennis player to triumph in Madrid and the second youngest to collect two trophies in Masters 1000 tournaments after Nadal won in Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005.
Alcaraz was already the youngest player to make it into the top-10 of the ATP rankings since Nadal accomplished the feat in 2005.
“It’s an extraordinary feeling to be able to beat these players,” said Alcaraz. “Beating two of the best players in history and then Zverev, third in the world. He’s a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life. »
For Alcaraz, it was a seventh straight win against a top-10 rival and a fourth title in 2022, a highlight within the ATP circuit.
He also dominates the men’s world with 28 wins this season, one more than Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Zverev was hoping to win the Madrid Open for the second year in a row and for the third time in his career. After the game he had nothing but praise for his young rival.
“Right now you’re the best player in the world,” Zverev said before the awards ceremony, before making a joke about his opponent’s age.
“Even though you’re only five years old, you manage to beat us all!” It’s wonderful to see that tennis has such a new superstar who will win multiple Grand Slam tournaments, who will become number one in the world and who will win this tournament several times. »
Alcaraz won his first Masters 1000 tournament in Miami in early April. He also signed triumphs in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. Last year he won his first career title in Umag, Croatia.
Alcaraz suffered three defeats in 2022, against Sebastian Korda in Monte Carlo, against Nadal in Indian Wells and against Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open.
After long duels over three sets against Nadal and Djokovic, Alcaraz showed a high level of energy against Zverev right from the start and kept control throughout the duel, played on the center court of the “Caja Magica”.
Alcaraz had no break points and converted four out of eight break chances. The Spaniard committed 11 unforced errors compared to Zverev’s 25.
“I’m 19, which I think is key to being able to play long, hard games in a row. I feel very good physically. »
Alcaraz remarked that there was something special about triumphing in Madrid, the place where he started playing tennis at a very young age.
“Seeing ‘Rafa’ lift that trophy gave me a lot of strength to work hard for this moment,” he said.
“This is a big moment for me. This is the first tournament I’ve watched and it’s so emotional to lift this trophy today. »