Alcaraz wins third Grand Slam title at 21

Alcaraz wins third Grand Slam title at 21


As Carlos Alcaraz began constructing his comeback in yesterday’s French Open final, a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Alexander Zverev for a first championship at Roland Garros and third Grand Slam title in all, there arrived the sort of magical shot the kid is making a regular part of his varied repertoire.

It was a running, then sliding, down-the-line, untouchable forehand passing winner that Alcaraz celebrated by thrusting his right index finger overhead in a “No. 1” sign, then throwing an uppercut while screaming, “Vamos!”

No, he is not ranked No. 1 at the moment — the man he beat in the semifinals, Jannik Sinner, makes his debut at the top spot on Monday — but Alcaraz has been there before and, although a “2” will be beside his name next week, there is little doubt that he is as good as it gets in men’s tennis right now. And more accomplished than any man ever was at his age.

Alcaraz is a 21-year-old from Spain who grew up running home from school to watch on TV as countryman Rafael Nadal was accumulating title after title at Roland Garros — a record 14 — and he eclipsed Nadal as the youngest man to collect major championships on three surfaces. Nadal was about 18 months older when he did it.

“Different tournaments, different aura,” Alcaraz said when asked to distinguish among his trio of trophies, “but I’m going to say: same feeling. I mean, winning a Grand Slam is always special,”

This one from the clay-court major joins hardware from triumphs on hard courts at the US Open in 2022 and on grass at Wimbledon in 2023. He is 3-0 in Slam finals.

On Sunday against Alcaraz, Zverev faltered after surging in front by reeling off the last five games of the third set. Alcaraz’s level dipped during that stretch and he seemed distracted by a complaint over the condition of the clay, telling chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein it was “unbelievable.”

But Alcaraz reset and ran away with it, taking 12 of the last 15 games while being treated by a trainer at changeovers for some pain and cramping in his left leg.

“I know that when I’m playing a fifth set, you have to give everything and you have to give your heart,” Alcaraz said. “I mean, in those moments, it’s where the top players give their best tennis.”

No. 3 seed Alcaraz and No. 4 Zverev were making their first appearance in a French Open final. Indeed, this was the first men’s title match at Roland Garros since 2004 without at least one of Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.