Photograph: Getty Images
Carlos Alcaraz has continued to announce himself to the tennis world, winning the biggest title of his career thus far, claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 title at just 18 years of age, defeating Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-4 to win the Miami Open.
In doing so, the Spaniard became the youngest winner in the tournament’s 37-year history and the third-youngest Masters 1000 champion overall.
This time last year Alcaraz wasn’t ranked in the top 100, now he’s the new world No. 11.
“I love Miami," Alcaraz said.
Alcaraz had tremendous support in Miami with its huge Spanish speaking community providing a lot of encouragement and noise throughout his incredible run.
“I felt like I was home from the first minute I began playing,” Alcaraz said.
Ruud, who will rise to no. 7 in the rankings, got off to the perfect start, racing to a 3-0 lead in the first set. However, with a fighting attitude mirroring his idol, Rafael Nadal, Alcaraz managed to break back to level the first set at 4-4. An error from Ruud on break-point at 5-5 handed Alcaraz the advantage in the first set.
The soon to turn nineteen-year-old showed his brilliance and stamped his authority on the match in the second set, breaking Ruud’s first two service games.
Post-match, tennis commentators were in awe of what Alcaraz was able to achieve.
“The answer to the question ‘what happens when Federer and Nadal retire?’ Carlos Alcaraz,” David Law tweeted.
On Tennis Channel, Tennis icon Martina Navratilova was predicting further success for the Spanish star.
“For me, he's one of the top four people that you have to talk about at every major now, along with Djokovic, Nadal and (Daniil) Medvedev, “He's the fourth one, for me.”
Alcaraz will now turn his attention to the start of the clay-court season which starts next week with the Monte-Carlo Masters. Many are tipping him to be one of Nadal’s main challengers to the elder Spaniard’s bid for another French Open title.
Alcaraz's victory highlights that the next generation will hold tennis in good stead when the Big 3 of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic retire.