‘More grand slams’: Carlos Alcaraz already has sights set on 2023 glory after US Open triumph
It was one of the most famous rallies in tennis history, but there was more to Carlos Alcaraz’s 3-hour, 14-game epic than that.
In a world where tennis grand slams are all the rage, one of the most memorable is the final of the 2014 US Open, when an all-Spanish team toppled a British champion to win the crown and the $10 million prize money, in what is widely regarded as tennis’ greatest show.
But there was much more to Alcaraz’s triumph than mere tennis.
Instead, he is now set for the biggest year in his career – one that will prove one for the ages despite his age. He is just 26 and has been on a roll ever since he broke into the top five at Wimbledon two years ago – at just 15 years old.
The world No. 2 in the ATP rankings, he has won 22 ATP titles and 20 titles in WTA tournaments.
The breakthrough came when he was just 13 as a right-hand attacking baseliner. He won the 2014 Australian Open junior title and came top of the junior rankings for the next three years, before he decided to take things up a level.
His breakthrough followed the triumph of Andre Agassi in Paris in the 1984 French Open final, when he won 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to become the youngest men’s No. 1 in tennis.
“It was the most intense, the most nerve-racking, but the most fun,” Alcaraz told the BBC. “I mean, my body wasn’t ready for this. I hadn’t played in the past six months, it was just my mental strength in winning these tournaments from start to finish, the mental side. And to do what he did in the final, it was quite incredible, wasn’t it?”
In early 2015 Alcaraz, who won his first WTA title earlier that year, entered the second half of the Australian Open as world No. 9, ahead of Roger Federer.
One day before he was due to play Federer in the semi-finals, Alcaraz had an emergency operation to remove a brain tumour