Carlos Alcaraz is amazing. But the Big One era has not yet arrived.

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By Creative Media News

Similar to Michael Myers with a tennis racket, he continues to advance. If we learned nothing else during Carlos Alcaraz’s amazing run to the US Open championship, it is that it takes more than one potential champion to stop him. Often, two or three are inadequate.

For two weeks in New York, the finest male tennis youngster since Rafael Nadal over twenty years ago turned would-be kill shots into crowd-pleasing additions to his ever-growing highlight reel, keeping points alive with his unparalleled all-court movement, superb touch, and taste for the fight. He is a phenomenal player.

Carlos alcaraz is amazing. But the big one era has not yet arrived.
Carlos alcaraz is amazing. But the big one era has not yet arrived.

With Sunday’s four-set victory over the Norwegian Casper Ruud, Alcaraz officially became the youngest No. 1 in the history of the ATP’s world rankings and won his first grand slam title. But the 19-year-old from the little village of El Palmar on Spain’s southern coast earned his trophy by surviving three consecutive five-set matches to reach the championship match, a feat no player had accomplished in thirty years.

Tuesday, 2:23 a.m. marked the conclusion of his fourth-round match against the 2014 US Open champion, Marin Cilic. The quarterfinal victory versus Jannik Sinner, which lasted 5 hours and 15 minutes and ended at 2:50 a.m. in front of a few hundred spectators, was the latest in tournament history.

And that was before he was forced to go the distance against Frances Tiafoe in the semi-finals, holding off a confident home-court opponent and a sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd rooting for the 24-year-old American.

Carlos alcaraz.
Carlos alcaraz is amazing. But the big one era has not yet arrived.

Alcaraz had spent more time on court than any player in the history of grand slam tournaments: 23 hours and 40 minutes by the time he crossed the finish line on Sunday evening, having secured the decisive break in the fourth set.

He still appeared as fresh as a daisy. “He was built to play this type of event and these types of matches,” remarked his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the former No. 1 player in the world and French Open champion from 2003. “From the moment I began working with him, I noticed that he was different from other males his age.

“He’s a fantastic competitor. There he is. He strives constantly.”

On one hand, all this talk of a changing of the guard feels a tad premature. Novak Djokovic, who was unable to travel to New York due to his lack of Covid-19 vaccination, will be heavily favored to win the Australian Open and retain his Wimbledon title next year. At Roland Garros, Nadal, who has won all but one of his 23 major matches this year, will be an even greater favorite.

Nevertheless, seeing is believing. Alcaraz more than passes the eye test, and there is cause to assume that the period of the Big Three may soon be replaced by the Big One. The frightening aspect is that he is only in his second full year of touring, and he has so much room for improvement.

When his serve reaches the same level of development as the rest of his game, he may be unstoppable. After Sunday’s encounter, Ruud remarked, “He is one of those few unique talents that occasionally emerge in sports.” “That appears to be the case. We’ll have to wait and see how his career develops, but it’s headed in the right direction.”

Despite how tempting it may be in the aftermath, let’s not list Alcaraz for 20 majors just yet. In 2009, a 20-year-old Argentine named Juan Martin del Potro defeated an imperial-era Roger Federer in a five-set classic, stopping Federer’s attempt for a sixth consecutive US Open title.

In the end, a series of wrist and knee ailments tragically derailed a promising career comparable to that of Alcaraz’s now. The ups and downs of Emma Raducanu, the last youngster to win the US Open, should also be acknowledged.

But after being the first male adolescent to win the US Open since Pete Sampras in 1990, the first to win any major since Rafael Nadal won the French Open in 2005, and the first to ever reach No. 1 in the world, the excitement surrounding his title run has been fully justified. If he does stay healthy, the sky is the limit.

“I am currently enjoying the present,” he remarked. “I appreciate holding the prize in my hands. But I’m yearning for more. I want to be at the top for an extended period. I wish for many years. After these incredible two weeks, I will resume my hard job. I intend to push for more of this.”

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