Who is Carlos Alcaraz?Tim Strawn
2022 has been quite a year for men’s professional tennis. We’ve witnessed Federer’s retirement from competitive tennis coupled with a new crop of young players who have raced to fill the void left behind. Roger Federer’s presence on the men’s tour will definitely be missed and undoubtedly, we will soon see his good friend Rafa Nadal not far behind.
However, the excitement level for the men’s game couldn’t be higher with so many new players emerging as tomorrow’s stars of the game. Of those players, no one has shined brighter than Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz who has blazed through 2022 with a stellar performance, including his first grand slam title at the U.S. Open. That list includes:
2022: Alcaraz’s year to remember
He started 2021 ranked 141st in the world and by December 27th he had climbed to #32, a very impressive rise indeed. In March of 2022, he cracked the top 10, coming in at #9, and by the time he reached the U.S. Open, he was poised to take over the number one ranking in the world. With his first grand slam title and the number one ranking on the line, his performance was nothing short of amazing, He routinely made it through the first three rounds taking out Baez, Coria, and Brooksby in straight sets. However, things got much harder beginning in the fourth round when he faced veteran Marin Cilic, a cagey tour veteran, and former U.S. Open champion. He edged Cilic in 5 sets taking the fifth 6-3. Next up was Jannik Sinner, a player who had given Alcaraz some of his toughest matches in 2022 but he managed to take the fifth set 6-3 but only after being down two sets to one and a match point. Next up was American Frances Tiafoe and once again, being down two sets to one he takes a fourth-set tiebreak and closes out the match in the fifth 6-3. Standing in his way in the final was Casper Ruud, another young player who himself was having a record year making it to the final of the French Open and now finding himself in his second slam final of the year in New York. Each finalist faced tremendous pressure knowing full well that the winner would not only claim the first grand slam title of their young career but claim the number one ranking in the world with a victory. Alcaraz seemed to be in control winning the first set 6-4 but Ruud wasn’t going away without a fight as he took the second set 6-2. However, Alcaraz seemed like a man on a mission as he came back to win the third in a tiebreak and then went on to take the match 6-3 in the fourth set.
What’s next for Carlos Alcaraz?
Players on the men’s professional tennis tour often have the same thing to say about being number one. It’s an incredible challenge to get there and it’s the dream of everyone who plays the game. However, getting there is not as hard as staying there. Alcaraz was brought down to earth in his first match after claiming the world’s number one ranking. Felix Auger-Aliassime ruined his homecoming after fighting back to beat the world’s newest top-ranked player 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2 to level Canada with Spain at 1-1 in the Davis Cup in Alcaraz’s home country of Spain. Reality always has a way of bringing people down to earth and no doubt, Alcaraz now realizes the challenge before him. Can he retain the number one ranking for a long time as some of his predecessors have? Only time will tell but tennis fans around the world have a lot to look forward to when it comes to men’s professional tennis.
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