Carlos Alcaraz Completes Sweep Of World’s Top Players To Capture Madrid Title
Carlos Alcaraz has served notice to the rest of the tennis world that he is ready to dominate the game.
Not down the road, but right now.
The 19-year-old Spaniard and world No. 7 won his second Masters 1000 title of 2022 by destroying No. 3 and defending champion Alexander Zverev, 6-3, 6-1, in 62 minutes in Sunday’s Madrid final. Alcaraz improved to 28-3 this season and has won four titles, including his first Masters 1000 crown in Miami.
He has now beaten the world’s No. 1 (Novak Djokovic), No. 3 (Zverev), No. 4 (Rafael Nadal) and No. 9 (Cam Norrie) players in the span of four days. On Saturday, he became the first man ever to beat Nadal and Djokovic in the same clay court event. He has won seven straight matches against Top 10 opponents and will move to No. 6 in the world on Monday.
“It feels great to be able to beat these players. To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the World No. 3. He is a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “I am 19 years old, which I think is the key to be able to play long and tough matches in a row. I am feeling great physically.”
Alcaraz spent nearly six hours on the court in those two matches, but had little trouble dispatching Zverev, who was coming off a three-set win late Saturday night against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I think he's going to win one of the next four majors, I think he's going to be the first teen to win one since Nadal did [in 2005 at Roland Garros],” former world No. 1 Jim Courier said on Tennis Channel. “We'll see, we'll see."
Zverev, a two-time Madrid champion (2018 and ‘21), fell to 19-3 in 2022.
Alcaraz continued to mix up concussive baseline power with a sweet drop shot — and a willingness to use the drop shot at critical moments of a match.
“It’s the power that really sets up the drop shot,” Courier said on air Sunday.
Alcaraz broke Zverev for a 4-2 lead in the first set and then served it out.
He broke him at love with a lovely forehand drop shot for a 2-1 lead in the second set and then broke again for a 4-1 lead as the wheels began to fall off for the German.
Zverev capitulated and lost his serve at 1-5 in the second set, double-faulting away the last two points.
“I want to congratulate Carlitos. Right now you are the best player in the world,” Zverev said during the trophy ceremony. “It is great for tennis that we have such a new superstar that is going to win so many Grand Slams, that is going to be World No. 1 and I think is going to win this tournament many more times.”
Alcaraz opted to drop out of the Italian Open next week and will focus on the French Open beginning May 22. The question there will be: How will he do in best-of-five matches against the world’s top players and can he contend for his first Grand Slam title?
“He’s viable on hard courts and clay without a doubt,” Courier said on air Sunday.
Andy Roddick later called Alcaraz the “co-favorite” with Nadal at Roland Garros, while Courier said he can “definitely” win double-digit majors.