Defeating Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic to winning US Open: Meet Carlos Alcaraz, the teenage sensation!

Written By: Aditya Sahay | Updated: Sep 13, 2022, 11:30 AM IST

From defeating Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and winning Madrid Open, Spain's teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz has now become the youngest world No. 1 in history after his US Open triumph.

2022 - The year of Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spaniard, became the new Madrid Open champion in May 2022, beating Germany's Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-1 in the summit clash but ended the search for his maiden Grand Slam title with triumph at the US Open.

After becoming the youngest champion in Madrid, Alcaraz is now the youngest champion in New York since Pete Sampras in 1990. In the final, he beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 to make more heads turn in the tennis fraternity and rub shoulders with the biggest superstars in his field.

He made it to the third round at the Australian Open, quarters at the Roland Garros and fourth round in Wimbledon but ended the last Grand Slam of the year by creating history.


Defeating Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal enroute Madrid Open title

Early this year, Alcaraz had made heads turn in the sporting fraternity enroute of the Madrid Open finale. In the quarter-finals, the teen sensation beat his idol Rafael Nadal 6-2, 1-6, 6-3. In the semis, he faced World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and beat the Serbian 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5), in 3 hours, 36 minutes before lifting his second Masters 1000 title in the summit clash (with a win over defending champion Zverev).

By beating both Nadal and Djokovic, Alcaraz attained a huge feat. He became the first male player to get the better of the two senior pros Nadal and Djokovic — who have combined to win 41 Grand Slam titles — in the same clay court event and the 12th on all surfaces, according to the ATP. In addition, he had then become the only teenager to beat Nadal on clay. 


Carlos' playing style similar to Nadal

Carlos' playing style which has been deemed very similar to Nadal. Just like Nadal, the 19-year-old sensation relies more on using his forehand on groundstrokes. Similarly, he has a knack for controlling and winning points from the baseline like his senior compatriot.

Alcaraz also means business on the court and doesn't shy away from showing his aggression and emotions on the court.


Reliving Carlos' achievements before maiden Grand Slam title

Carlos was the youngest player to reach round 4 of the US Open 2021 after emerging on top of the then World No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-set epic clash. Earlier in the year, Alcaraz had made his grand slam debut with the Australian Open. He made it to round 2 of the showpiece event Down Under, the fourth round at Wimbledon whereas his campaign ended at the 3rd round in the French Open (where he became the youngest player to reach the R32 at Roland Garros since 1992).

Prior to the US Open title, Alcaraz became the fifth-youngest player to earn a win at all four Grand Slam tournaments. Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, and Goran Ivanisevic are three of the four players to have earned the feat at a younger age.

With his aggression, strong forehand and covering the dimensions of the court, Alcaraz has been hailed by many and is easily termed as the next-big-thing in men's tennis.


Carlos Alcaraz - Rise to the top

The Spaniard also became the first teenager to claim the top ranking post his title win at the US Open. He is now the youngest Grand Slam men's champion since Nadal at the 2005 French Open.

His consistency in the 2022 season has been incredible and the 19-year-old was rewarded with his maiden Grand Slam title at the last major tournament of the calendar year. 

Has the Alcaraz-era commenced? Will we see more of his title wins in 2023? It surely seems so.