Carlos Alcaraz Wins the Madrid Open

Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest person to ever win the Madrid Open.

This+is+a+featured+image+for+sports+stories.

Photo RHSToday Staff

This is a featured image for sports stories.

Vikram Sambasivan , News Editor

Carlos Alcaraz won the Madrid Open on Sunday, May 8, beating out Alexander Zverev to claim his second ATP Masters 1000 title. While beating the world number 3 and current Olympic Champion was a mighty feat for the 19- year old it paled in comparison to whom Alcaraz had to defeat in order to reach the finals. 

In the first round Alcaraz easily beat Nikoloz Basilashivili, who would generally be a tough opponent, but for someone of Alcaraz’s skill, power, gameplay and endurance, it wasn’t much of a feat. He then went onto play 9th seeded Cameron Norrie in the second round who gave Alcaraz a bit of a challenge, managing to steal a set away from him, but Alcaraz still won with the score being: 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. However, things began to heat up for Alcaraz in the next two games. 

In his Quarterfinal match, Alcaraz faced twenty one time Grand Slam winner, someone regularly referred to as the “King of Clay” and childhood idol: Rafael Nadal. Despite Nadal’s great year, (winning the Australian Open to claim his 21st Grand Slam, thereby breaking the all-time men’s singles tennis Grand Slam record) expectations for the explosive match were pretty evenly distributed amongst both the players. Alcaraz was able to pull out an impressive win of 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 to make his way to the semifinals, despite having to deal with an ankle injury in the third game. Nadal, the five-time winner of this tournament, had nothing but kind words to say about his opponent. 

“Everybody knows the amount of confidence he has right now, the level that he can reach. So, yeah, happy for him. Happy because we have an amazing player in our country for a lot of years to come. It’s always special to win at home. Have been probably very special week for him,” said Nadal in a press conference before his first-round match at the Italian Open. 

Having defeated his idol, Alcaraz went onto his semi-final match against the number one ranked player and 20-time Grand Slam winner, Novak Djokovic. While Djokovic was the obvious favorite, he hadn’t had much match practice coming into this season after the visa debacle for the Australian Open. Djokovic and Alcaraz played an explosive 3.5 hour long match where Alcaraz won 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 to make his way to the final and eventually win the tournament. By defeating Djokovic, Alcaraz became the first person to ever beat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back on a clay court. 

In an interview with TalkSport, Alcaraz said, “It’s spectacular right now. I am very happy. I’m very excited to be able to play these kind of matches, to be able to beat Rafa yesterday, to be able to beat the number one today.”

[Alcaraz] is the future of Men’s Tennis, but also the present.”

— Novak Djokovic

Many see Alcaraz’s victories over two legendary players as a passing-of-the torch from the old guard to the new, (just as when Roger Federer defeated Pete Sampras in 2001, Wimbledon) making many question the future of Men’s tennis. Before Alcaraz came onto the scene, the future of tennis seemed set. The Big Three, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, continued to dominate the tennis scene with some of the Next-Gen players (such as Stefanos Tistsipas, Alexander Zverev, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Danil Medvedev and more) beginning to take Masters titles and some Grand Slams away from the top players. However, with Alcaraz seemingly jumping the “line of succession,” many are beginning to question what the future of the sport is.

In an interview with Tennis TV after his loss to Alcaraz,  Djokovic says, “[Alcaraz] is the future of Men’s Tennis, but also the present.”

Alcaraz winning the Madrid Open at age 19 bares a strong resemblance to Nadal winning Monte-Carlo and Rome Masters tournaments before his famed 2005 Roland Garros victory. While his ankle injury and endurance have been called into question, Alcaraz is among the favorites to win the upcoming Roland Garros tournament. 

“I’m not worried about this kid’s body over the course of two weeks and I don’t think he’s going to get extended in the early rounds with his form the way it is right now,” said former world no.1 and Grand Slam winner Andy Roddick in an interview with Forbes.