(September 11, 2022) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – No. 3 seed Carlos Alcaraz at 19-years-old has become the youngest and first teenage World No. 1 in ATP Rankings history by defeating No. 5 seed Casper Ruud 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(1) to win the US Open, his first major. Alcaraz becomes the 28th different man to be ranked No. 1, when the rankings come out on Monday.
Coming into the US Open, ranked No. 4 he ties the biggest jump to No. 1 with Carlos Moya, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.
He joins his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos Moya and Rafael Nadal as the fourth Spaniard to reach the top spot.
For the Spaniard and Norwegian, the match was the first final featuring 2 men competing for both their first major title and the World No. 1 ranking.
Ruud, 23, who also lost in the final of Roland Garros to another Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, leaves New York with the No. 2 ranking.
He is the first Norwegian man to reach the US Open final.
In the first few games both men had to recover from break points to hold for 1-1. The 19-year-old jumped out with the break of serve in the third game of the match and held on for a 6-4 set.
The second set started with both men holding serve easily until the fifth game, when the Norwegian survived a break point. Ruud netted his first break in the sixth game for a 4-2. Normally, he doesn’t show much emotion, but after the break he pumped his fist in the air in celebration. A second break for Ruud gave him set 6-2 to level the match at a set apiece. It was the first set that the 23-year-old has won against the Spaniard.
In the third set, Alcaraz picked up his power and finesse, breaking serve to open. Ruud three straight games to get back in the set on serve for 3-2. In the 12th game, Alcaraz saved a pair to set points with serve and volley tennis to get to the third set tiebreak.
The Spaniard dominated the tiebreak 7-1, the first tiebreak he won at the US Open in 2022 to go up 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(1).
In the fourth set, both men held their service game easily until Ruud hit a high forehand out to give Alcaraz a break in the sixth game for a 4-2 game. He held on to win the set and the match 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (1), 6-3.
Alcaraz hit 14 aces during the match, winning 74% of his first serve points. He was15 for 21 for and volley points and won 35 out of 45 points at net.
He hit 55 winners to 41 unforced errors and won a total 127 points to Ruud’s122,
With his number of five-set marathons in the fourth through semifinals rounds helping, Alcaraz passed the record for time on court to win a major with 23 hours and 39 minutes.
“I think it was an exciting match to play and be a part of,” Ruud said to media. “It was many fun rallies and fun shots. Of course, disappointing in the end that it didn’t go my way. But that’s how it goes.
“Carlos stepped up when he really needed to. Especially in the third set, it was close to go in my favor. I had some set points and couldn’t take care of them. He just played too good on those points. We’ve seen it many times before, he steps up when he needs to. When it’s close, he pulls out great shots.
“All credit to him. At the same time I’m proud of the match and the two weeks. I gave it all. I left it all out on the court. Played some phenomenal tennis throughout the two weeks, probably my best tennis ever on this surface. So I’m very happy in the end.
“We’ll hopefully get another chance at a slam in the future.”
Ruud has now lost two major finals – Roland Garros and the US Open.
“In Roland Garros, was hard for me to believe that I could beat Rafa,” he said. “Today was not easier, but I believed it more. I think these two tournaments have sort of made my self-belief to win a Grand Slam grow.
“Hopefully these two experiences can help me. I guess I hope I don’t play a Spanish player if I ever reach another slam final (laughter).”
“I mean, it has been a great run here in US Open,” Alcaraz said to lead off his news conference. “Obviously is great to have the trophy here.
“But I would say, I mean, I overcome myself a little bit. I mean, yeah, I played a great matches, high intensity, during the two weeks that I’ve never done before. I just can say that I’m really happy to move on to be No. 1 of the world, still growing. I’m so, so happy.”
” I’ve never thought that I was going to achieve something like that at 19 years old. So everything is came so fast.
“For me it’s unbelievable. It’s something I dream since I was a kid, since I start playing tennis. Of course, lift this trophy today is amazing for me.”
Right before the champion’s news conference, his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero had his own talk with the media.
“Carlos, I think he born to play this kind of tournament, born to play these kind of matches. Since the moment that I started with him, I saw some things that were different than the other guys at his age.
“I am still seeing it on the court. In important moments, he always try to go. This was one of the more difficult things in tennis, even on his first Grand Slam final.
“He’s a great competitor. He’s there. He’s trying all the time. We could see it the last matches, even against Cilic, Sinner, or Tiafoe, that he never gave up. He always wanted to push and try to stay on the match.”
Before Alcaraz’s news conference, he presented his coach with a smaller duplicate of his trophy. Since 2017, the coaches of the winning singles players receive a miniature trophy.
“As I tell him, I think he’s on 60% of his game. He can improve a lot of things. He knows and I know that we have to keep working.
“Once to get to the No. 1, it’s not done and you go. You have to keep working, keep playing at a huge level on that tournaments to keep winning. He knows that and I know that. I’m going to be very close from him to remember him.”
“It means a lot to me to have a lot of people supporting me here in New York,” said the new champion. “What I lived last year was incredible. But this year was unscriptable.
“As I said, there were a lot of tough moments for me, tough matches. They were there all the time believing in me, supporting me. I finish the match against Jannik at almost 3 a.m. and they were there supporting me until the last ball.
“I could say this trophy is for them, as well. It’s thanks to them. Maybe if I hadn’t them supporting me all the time, I couldn’t have this trophy today.”
“Well, right now I’m enjoying the moment. I’m enjoying have the trophy in my hands.
“But, of course, I’m hungry for more. I want to be in the top for many, many weeks. Hope many years. I’m going to work hard again after this week, this amazing two weeks. I’m going to fight for have more of this.”