(AP) NEW YORK — At the age of 19, Carlos Alcaraz slapped fists with spectators leaning over a railing on the way to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court as he entered his first Grand Slam final.
After winning the coin toss, Alcaraz turned to rush to the baseline to warm up when the chair umpire yelled for him to return to the net for the customary pre-match pictures.
Alcaraz exudes limitless passion and vitality in addition to talent, quickness, stamina, and joie de vivre. He is currently the top male tennis player and the U.S. Open champion.
Alcaraz, the youngest player to occupy the top slot in the ATP rankings, overcame Casper Ruud on Sunday with a rare moxie and maturity combination to win the title at Flushing Meadows.
“All of it came so suddenly. I find it fantastic. Since I first began playing tennis as a young boy, I’ve had this urge “Alcaraz, who some of his generation may still see as a child, commented.
Naturally, he said, “I want more.”
Alcaraz has already garnered a lot of attention as the Next Big Thing in a sport that has been dominated for decades by the Big Three of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer. Alcaraz will move up three ranking spots from No. 4 to No. 1 on Monday.
He is one of the select few exceptional athletes who occasionally emerge in sports. That’s how it appears to be, remarked Norwegian Ruud, age 23. “Let’s see how his career grows, but everything is headed in the correct path,” someone said.
The Spanish player was serenaded by chants of “Olé, Olé, Olé! Carlos!” that resonated off the closed roof of the arena. Alcaraz frequently signalled for the crowd to become louder.
There were a few remarkable moments that received standing ovations, including one that Alcaraz lost with a forehand laser on the run that left him on his tummy.
No one had ever won the championship in New York in 30 years after having to endure three consecutive five-setter matches in the three rounds before to the final; he just momentarily shown indications of exhaustion.
The fourth-round match between Alcaraz and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, which ended at 2:23 a.m. on Tuesday, the quarterfinal match between Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, which required Alcaraz to save a match point, and the semifinal match between Alcaraz and Frances Tiafoe all required five sets.
It’s not the time to be exhausted, Alcaraz remarked.
This was hardly a leisurely race to the end. While down 6-5 in the third, he encountered two set points. It may have changed the course of events.
However, Alcaraz eliminated all of Ruud’s chances to score a point from the set by repeatedly demonstrating the kind of rapid reaction, soft-hand volleys he used.