The doors of history open wide, and Carlos Alcaraz crosses the frame. In the Arthur Ashe, everyone on their feet and mobiles up during the last point. At 19 years old, the Spaniard celebrates his first major (6-2, 2-6, 7-6(1) and 6-3 over Casper Ruud, in 3h 20m) and is already the youngest number one in the history of the tennis, unseating Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who reached the summit at the age of 20 years and nine months in 2001; he is also the earliest champion of a major since Rafael Nadal lifted the Roland Garros in 2005. That is to say, the advent is already a reality. What was guessed is fulfilled in New York: “I want to reach the top and win a Grand Slam, I work every day for that”. Said and done. Yes, Alcaraz is already here.
The Spaniard resolves the last problem –in the final, only five points more than Ruud, who also aspired to the throne and is ranked second in the world– and merges into a hug with his father and his team. Excited, because the situation deserves it and after all he is still an upstart in his twenties, he remembers the speech of his mother and grandfather, who have not been able to travel: “This is something with which that I dreamed of since I was a child”, he says while the prophecy is fulfilled and history pairs him with his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Nadal and Carlos Moyà as Spaniards who have reached the top of the circuit; He is also listed as the youngest to conquer Flushing Meadows since the formidable Pete Sampras (19 years and 28 days) in 1990.
If nothing goes wrong or a more luminous irruption does not take place, this September 11 marks a before and after for tennis. Alcaraz is crowned in New York, proudly looks 1 and the story turns the nut, welcoming a new stage; If it reaches the magnitude of it was alcaraz, as is insisted these days, we will see. That’s how it looks, but it’s early; there are cases and cases of lost talents. The flashes of Thiem or Medvedev in recent times, those of Murray, Wawrinka, Del Potro or Cilic before, momentarily interrupted the extraordinary tyranny of the three giants, although without ever posing a real threat to the establishment. Only the Scotsman really intimidated. Apart from him, his enormous merit, sparks. Little more.
Alcaraz, however, looks very different at the moment, age and manners. They remember their hatching and their landing at the top to those of the great figures of this sport. Enjoy and enjoy. He has the best wickers. He is a brave man in the midst of an army of young speculators; yes, there is life beyond the serve. And above all, he wants, deficit among the new generation of players. In a stagnant and one-way tennis, whiplash goes whiplash comes, his proposal breaks through and seduces in equal parts. It had been a long time since a player entered with such force or such decision, nor that he challenged with such impudence. Without fear. He has already reduced Nadal and Djokovic, and this tour in New York has revealed a new edge: he knows how to suffer.
Now, he is 19 years old, a long way to mature and a final is a final, even more so if it is the first of a great; if not, ask a certain Djokovic, defeated by Federer in his debut in 2007, New York precisely. For a while, Alcaraz is trapped. Normal. Although Ruud fits the first game before the match begins, due to the imbalance in the applause for both at the reception, he is a tough guy to fight in the melee and takes advantage of the sharp thread on which the duel passes to destabilize. He hardens the development and squeezes the even sections, knowing that the stairway to the trophy passes through there for him. If he stops playing and gives the Murcian a single bubble of oxygen, his options would disappear.
Alcaraz starts off strong and wins the first set, but the rival demands him in each rally. There is no point without debate. He has Ruud class, pure academicism, but he also has a sizable arm. If he gains confidence and arms it, the discharge is electric and usually comes to fruition. He is not a player to be underestimated. His performance is not accompanied by titles of magnitude, but on this New York afternoon that advances with the roof of the Arthur Ashe closed (it rains on Queens) he wants to make a good break. Everything points to the Spanish, but he rebels. And he does it big. Before the expected coronation of the novel and all the packaging in code alcaraziana of the final, the Norwegian launches an ordago.
In a race towards the net, Alcaraz misses and throws a racket into the tape. He’s having a bad time. Opposite, Ruud, 23 years old, spits balls like a slot machine. He doesn’t see it clearly Juan Carlos Ferrero and harangues his boy: “Charlie, convince yourself that you have to go for the match!”. “Positive all the time!” “Let’s get hard on the first three balls!” He suffers and suffers from Murcia, but ends up getting up; the fate of this American journey that he has completed based on guts. He drew a match point against Jannik Sinner in the quarters; he beat Marin Cilic in five sets in the round of 16; and came from behind Frances Tiafoe in the semifinals. Against Ruud, again, more suffering and the same reaction: he grows when he plays.
With the water up to his neck in the third set, the Nordic has two options to take it away, but Alcaraz aborts them by going to the net. The Spanish dodges that fire, he signs a spectacular point and the central bursts. The emotional impact on his opponent is bestial, which until then had been superior in all exchanges to the limit. He knows Carlitos where, when and how to hit, a virtue reserved for a very exclusive club. Two to one up, he has emotionally given a decisive bite to the match, which he resolves at cruising speed and based on good work, applied until the last ball because Ruud does not let up at all. Even so, the Norwegian resigns himself and ends up giving in. It was the day and the champion knew it. It was said that he was out of series. And so it is. Here is Alcaraz.
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Source: EL PAIS