Carlos Alcaraz believes seeing childhood idol Rafael Nadal helped him become the youngest Miami Open champion on Sunday.
The following month, 19-year-old Alcaraz showed why many believe he is the most talked about young man in tennis to win the first ATP Masters crown with a 7-5, 6-4 win over world number eight Caspar Rudd of Norway.
Only two men at a young age have won the title at this level – Michael Chang, who was 18 years and five months old when he won Toronto in 1990, and Rafael Nadal, who was 18 years and 10 months old when he won Monte Carlo. 2005.
Alcaraz has dropped just one set on his way to the Miami win and will now set out to compete on the surface of his choice on the soil, overwhelmed by the biggest win of his career.
The 21-time Grand Slam-winning compatriot will have to go a long way before he can get close to copying Nadal’s legendary career, but Alcaraz says he plans to try to have fun.
“I always look up to Rafa, I’ve always watched his big moments and matches and learned a lot from him,” said Alcaraz, who received a congratulatory call from King Philip VI of Spain after a famous victory that saw him fall to the floor. Win the final points, AFP said.
“When I fell to the floor, every dream I had came true,” added Alcaraz, who lost to Nadal in the semifinals in Indian Wells last month.
Nadal was the first to congratulate Alcaraz on his victory on Sunday, welcoming a “historic” victory.
Nadal wrote on Twitter, “I’m sure many will come first.
– Rafa Nadal (@ Rafael Nadal) April 3, 2022
Much was expected from Alcaraz whose passionate, omnipotent display inspired the Florida crowd in the final stages of the Miami Open.
He later insisted that his goal now was to win a Grand Slam – and that was certainly a good start.
The 23-year-old Norwegian, who felt more comfortable in the early stages of his 10th ATP final, broke early and put pressure on his untimely opponent.
Despite the majority of the crowd supporting the Spanish player, he was unable to take advantage of the 3-1 break with Ruud and proved that he has the mental strength to improve in such a high-pressure situation.
‘Huge’ win: Ferrero
Yet when another opportunity arose to break through the World No. 8 service game, Alcaraz, who reached the last four in Indian Wells last month, caught it before holding his own serves to balance the lively first set 4-4.
A blistered forehand set up two more break points and although Rudd saved the first, he then hit Alcarez hard to get into the opening set to put him in the driving seat.
Two breaks early in the second set further strengthened Alcaraz’s dominance, with the teenager leading 3-0 which was too high for the fight but eventually outscored Rudd.
The Norwegian said: “I did not expect to reach the final so I could not be too upset.
“Carlos is a very aggressive and great mover. You think you hit a winner but he’s there to give it back. ”
It was an emotional afternoon for Alcaraz and his camp who cheered before the match when coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former world number one who was absent from the tournament after the death of his father, surprised his parents. .
“I planned to come here two days ago and after winning the semi-final I wanted to surprise him and give him more support,” Ferrero said.
“It’s an incredibly important win. He’s growing up as a player and as an individual. He needs to be attentive, calm and surround himself with the right people.
“It will be huge for his confidence.”
With Roger Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic finally leaving the stage, Alcaraz, who reached the last eight at the US Open last year, is already being suggested to help fill the superstar void.
“Welcome new blood,” Ferrero added. “I have been aware of his potential for the last three years so I am not surprised.
“But it all happened very quickly.”
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