Carlos Alcaraz has taken the tennis world by storm with a rapid 2022 propelling him into history and the record books as the youngest ever World No.1 on the ATP Tour, shattering Lleyton Hewitt’s longstanding record.
The Spaniard has captured his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open, as well as four Masters 1000 titles, which is already an enviable career for many but Alcaraz isn’t even a fortnight into his 20’s.
Speaking at a recent press conference, the 20-year-old highlighted his dream of becoming one of the sport’s greats, and that seems to be fait accompli already.
“I want to be one of the best tennis players in history,” he said.
“I'm ambitious. I don't want to lose, even at marbles. I'm not going to get tired of winning.
“I live from day to day, I love playing tennis so I'm not afraid that I'll get tired of winning because that's not going to happen.
“I am proud that in such a short time I have established myself on the circuit with incredible moments, which have made me learn and grow very quickly. “My dream in tennis right now is to become one of the best players in history. I know it's a big dream, and probably too big. “But you have to dream and think big.” It is rare to see someone so young to be as intensely driven, clearly outlining his goals for the world to see, and why wouldn’t he? Before his shock loss to Fabian Marozsan in Rome this week, Alcaraz had only been tamed by Jannik Sinner in Miami and Cam Norrie in Rio, the latter being due to an ailment in his leg that caused him to pull out of Acapulco the next week. His game does not fade, he is precise, he wears his opponents down and is mentally tougher than players that have been plying their trade since he was in primary school. With a devastating forehand, ferocious backhand, sumptuous drop shot and deadly net game, Alcaraz is the complete package. By his age, only one member of the Big Three was a major champion and that was Rafael Nadal at the event that he has since gone on to own at Roland Garros, as well as amassing 16 titles before turning 20. In fact, Roger Federer only boasted one career title in his teenage years and Novak Djokovic was only slightly better with five. Alcaraz eclipsed both with nine and almost a tenth as he entered his third decade during his run to the Madrid title. In their race to ten titles, Alcaraz has achieved the feat from 13 career finals, equal with Djokovic and behind Nadal. It took Federer 18 deciders to reach the milestone. The Spaniard notched up his 150th ATP match in Madrid and broke yet another record by winning his 117th contest, the most by anyone in their first 150 on tour. John McEnroe placed second on 113 and Ivan Lendl closely behind on 112, and both of them went on to clinch a combined 15 Grand Slam titles. The young man affectionately known as Carlitos has stolen the hearts of the tennis world and going on what he has already achieved, he will steal a hell of a lot more than that throughout his career. He is primed for his tilt at greatness, and all eyes will be pointing to the French Open as he looks to conquer the clay court major for the first time in his career, where he will go in as the top seed. There is no reason to believe that he won’t storm to the title.