King Carlos heralds a new era in tennis – News


His two-week trip to New York saw him collide with a host of other rising stars, offering the promise of thrilling rivalries that fans can enjoy for many years to come.

Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz celebrates with the US Open trophy. (AFP)

By Reuters

Published: Mon Sep 12, 2022 10:24 PM

Last update: Mon Sep 12, 2022 10:25 PM

When Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer finally loosen their grip on the Grand Slam tournaments, pundits could see Carlos Alcaraz’s victory at the US Open on Sunday as heralding the changing of the guard in men’s tennis.

Having earned his reputation as one of the fiercest contenders among a hungry group of young ‘Big Three’ challengers, Alcaraz’s victory over Casper Ruud not only earned the 19-year-old Spaniard a first major title, but also saw him become the youngest. world number one in the history of the ATP.

His two-week trip to New York saw him collide with a host of other rising stars, offering the promise of thrilling rivalries that fans can enjoy for many years to come.

He faced Italian Jannik Sinner, 21, in a thrilling five-set quarter-final that didn’t end until around 3 a.m. before surviving another five sets against American Frances Tiafoe, 24. , who became the first black American man. semi-finals of the tournament since Arthur Ashe in 1972.

On Sunday, ‘Carlitos’ avoided another punishing match in five sets but still needed to be at his athletic best to score a 6-4 2-6 7-6(1) 6-3 victory over Norway’s Ruud, 23. , which rises to number two in the world behind Alcaraz.

The Spaniard’s coach, former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero, said there was no shortage of talent on the men’s circuit, but he came back from Alcaraz’s quarter-final match against Sinner thinking the pair could dominate over the next decade.

“The other day I said that Sinner and Carlos could possibly dominate the Tour for maybe the next 10 years, from what I’ve seen, the level I’ve seen each other day,” he said.

“Of course there are other players like (Alexander) Zverev, (Dominic) Thiem, Casper, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas, they will be there, they will definitely have opportunities to win Grand Slams.”

Nick Kyrgios, the feisty 27-year-old Australian, who had reached the Wimbledon final and knocked out world number one Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round in New York, also made headlines at Flushing Meadows.


But as rising stars increasingly dominate the spotlight and help attract a younger, more diverse fan base to the sport, it would be premature to say the landscape has changed.

Nadal won the first two Grand Slams of the year at Melbourne Park and Roland Garros.

Djokovic, three-time US Open champion, who was unable to travel to New York having chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19, won Wimbledon.

The “Big Three” have won 20 of the last 23 major competitions before Sunday’s final and have finished top of the world rankings in 17 of the last 18 years.

And while the 41-year-old Federer’s future in the sport remains uncertain, Nadal, 36, is 38-5 this year and Djokovic will be hungry to equal or surpass the club’s record 22 titles. The Spaniard’s Grand Slam when the new season starts next year.

For ESPN commentator Patrick McEnroe, however, the tide is starting to turn.

“It’s remarkable to see Alcaraz play this game, how he upped the tempo in this game with Sinner and Tiafoe and other young guys,” he said on Sunday.

“For me it’s really the beginning, it’s not the end, but it’s the start of a real changing of the guard in men’s tennis.”

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