Carlos Alcaraz already has 2023 glory in sight after US Open triumph: ‘No more Grand Slams’



CNN

For many outside, Carlos Alcaraz lifting the US Open trophy felt like the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. For Alcaraz himself, however, his maiden Grand Slam triumph is just the beginning.

It’s indicative of the 19-year-old’s determined character and competitive nature that he already has another Grand Slam victory in sight in 2023.

Alcaraz’s victory in New York after two grueling weeks of tennis – the youngster played three consecutive marathon matches in five sets in the rounds leading up to the final – makes him the youngest player to win a Grand Slam since Rafael Nadal lifted the first of its 14 French Open Titles in 2005.

Hailing from Spain and natural on clay, comparisons between Alcaraz and Nadal were inevitable. Although he idolized Nadal growing up, Alcaraz has always pushed back against the monikers ‘next Nadal’ or ‘mini Nadal’, instead insisting that he wants to carve out his own legacy.

On Sunday, he took the first step – and perhaps the most difficult – of this journey.

“I worked very, very hard in the last two years, I also suffered a lot on this path to reach this trophy,” said Alcaraz. CNN Sportsby Carolyn Manno after her victory in four sets against Casper Ruud. “Of course, it’s time to keep working, to stay on top for many years or to try to get more Grand Slams.

LILY: Carlos Alcaraz makes history with defeat to Casper Ruud in US Open final

Carlos Alcaraz made history with his US Open win over Casper Ruud.

“It’s not always joyful on the way, you have to suffer a lot, a lot of hard times in your life, so you have to overcome that. I worked, really, really hard for that.

“I had the first one when I was 19, I hope to have another one next year, but I suffered a lot these two weeks, so I know it’s really, really difficult to get a Grand Slam. , but I’ll work for another one. I’ll fight to get another one so that’s a goal for me next year.

With his victory, Alcaraz also claims the world No. 1 ranking for the first time, becoming the youngest player in ATP history to do so. It’s a fitting way to cap off what has been an astonishing breakout year for the youngster from El Palmar in the Murcia region.

After winning his maiden ATP title in 2021, Alcaraz blossomed further in 2022, winning four titles – including two Masters 1000 tournaments – to move up the rankings from No. 32 at the start of the year.

Sunday’s battle against Ruud is a match tennis fans are likely to see a lot more of in the future, with the Norwegian seen by many as a future Grand Slam champion.

After landing a match point, a visibly emotional Alcaraz fell to the ground, though it probably could have been as much due to exhaustion as emotion. He managed to find the strength to climb through the stands to reach his box of supporters, sharing hugs with friends, family and his coach, former world number 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero.

“This moment means a lot to me, it’s something I’ve been looking for since I started playing tennis,” Alcaraz said after his win. “I worked really, really hard to be able to lift this trophy today, to become the best player in the world. For me, that feeling is indescribable, so this trophy means a lot to me.

“I thought about when I started playing tennis and, of course, all my family, all my coaches during my life, everything from when I was a kid. When you’re a kid, you always dream of a lot of things and being world No. 1 and being a grand slam champion were dreams for me.

“So right now to lift this trophy is a dream come true for me, so I’m so happy.”

Nadal was among the first to applaud Alcaraz’s achievement, with some seeing his victory in New York as the official passing of the torch for Spanish tennis.

“Congratulations @carlosalcaraz for your first Grand Slam and for the number 1 ranking, which is the culmination of your first great season and which I am sure there will be many more!” wrote the 22-time Grand Slam champion on Twitter.

With the skill, will and determination that were on display at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, it looks like Spain will continue to have tennis glory to celebrate for years to come.

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