Carlos Alcaraz has been hailed as the best player in the world by Alexander Zverev after the Spanish teenager’s latest sensational triumph in the Madrid Open.
Alcaraz, 19, who also stunned both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on his way to the final, won 6-3 6-1 against Zverev in little over an hour in Sunday’s one-sided final.
Zverev, the defending champion who also won in Madrid in 2018, had no answer to the depth and power of Alcaraz’s groundstrokes and was broken decisively in the sixth game of the first set and four times in the second.
On court after the match, Zverev told Alcaraz: “I want to congratulate Carlitos. Right now you are the best player in the world.
“It is great for tennis that we have such a new superstar that is going to win so many grand slams, that is going to be world number one and I think is going to win this tournament many more times.”
With his victory, Alcaraz became the second-youngest player ever to win two Masters 1000 titles.
“Last year, I was going through these experiences for the first time, playing against the best players, playing in the Masters 1000, and I learned a lot,” Alcaraz said.
“Now it’s different. I go onto the court with the confidence that I can win at any moment.”
Alcaraz became the youngest winner in Madrid, and the second youngest to win two Masters 1000 trophies after Nadal won in Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005.
He had already become the youngest to enter the top 10 since Nadal did it in 2005.
“It feels great to be able to beat these players,” the 19-year-old Alcaraz said.
“To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the world No. 3. He is a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life.”
It was the seventh straight win over a top-10 player for Alcaraz, and his tour-leading fourth title of the year. He also has the most wins this season with 28, one more than Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Alcaraz had won his first Masters 1000 tournament in Miami earlier this year. He had also won in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.
His first career title came in Umag last year.
Alcaraz’s three losses this season came against Sebastian Korda in Monte Carlo, Nadal in Indian Wells and Matteo Berrettini in the Australian Open, while Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur held match points against him in Barcelona.
He said it was special to win in Madrid, where he first started watching tennis at an early age.
“Watching Rafa lift this trophy gave me a lot of power to work hard for this moment,” Alcaraz said.
“It is a great moment for me. It is the first tournament I watched, so lifting the trophy today is so emotional.”
Alcaraz has decided to skip the Rome Masters in a bid to recover from an ankle injury ahead of the French Open later this month.
“I thought about it (playing in Rome). I think that given the state of my feet and my ankle, I’m really excited for fighting for a grand slam,” he said.
“I think that it’s better to rest, to recover my ankle, recover my feet, to be in Paris at 100 per cent.”
– with Reuters