Carlos Alcaraz Wins US Open To Becomes Youngest ATP No.1 In History - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz Wins US Open To Becomes Youngest ATP No.1 In History

The meteoric rise of the rising star continues after he defeated Casper Ruud in four sets to achieve two brand new milestones in his career.

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Carlos Alcaraz has become the youngest male player to clinch the US Open title since Pete Sampras in 1990 after producing a gutsy win over Casper Ruud in the final on Sunday.              

 

The 19-year-old ousted his Norwegian nemesis 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3, to win his first Grand Slam title during what has been a sensational season for the youngster who has now won five titles. As a result of his triumph, Alcaraz will become the youngest No.1 in Pepperstone ATP rankings history on Monday, dethroning last year’s champion Daniil Medvedev from the top spot.

“This is something I have dreamt of since I was a kid, to be number one in the world, to be a champion of a Grand Slam. It is tough to talk right now. There are a lot of emotions right now,” Alcaraz said during his on-court interview. 
“It is something I have tried to achieve. All the hard work I have done. I am just 19 years old so the top decisions are with my team and my parents. It is really special for me.
“My Mum is not here, and my Grandfather. I was thinking about them. A lot of my family are here but there are a lot of people from my family that couldn’t come here to watch the final and I was thinking of them.”

Alcaraz’s run to the US Open title has been a rollercoaster encounter with his six matches leading up to the final lasting more than 20 hours. In the three previous rounds, he was taken to five-set in encounters that lasted late into the night. Despite concerns over how he would hold up against Ruud, he once again beats the odds with the help of 51 winners to record his third win over the world No.7 since 2021.

“I always said there was no time to be tired in the final run of a tournament,” he said of his latest achievement.
“You have to give everything on court, everything you have inside. It is something I have worked really hard for and it is not time to be tired.”

In what was the second-youngest US Open men’s final of the Open Era, both players had their chances at the start of the match with four consecutive games taking place with at least one break point occurring in each of them. Alcaraz was the first to draw blood after a Ruud forehand error granted him a break for 2-1. The breakthrough was a pivotal moment as he carefully worked his way to clinching the opener. Leading 5-4, a serve out wide prompted his rival to return the ball into the net, rewarding Alcaraz with a trio of set points. He converted his first with the help of another Ruud mistake coming from his backhand side. 

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Despite his inexperience and young age, the Spaniard has already established himself as a fierce frontrunner on the Tour. Coming into the final, he has won 48 out of 50 matches played when he claimed the first set.   

However, Ruud conjured up a way to revive his title chances by staging a strong fight back in the second frame which saw him win four games in a row. A lull in intensity from Alcaraz paved the way for him to break for the first time for a 4-2 lead. Prompting the world No.3 to show visible signs of frustration for the first time. Gaining momentum, Ruud went to level the final at once set apiece with the help of a smash at the net. Making it the first time he has won a set against a member of the world’s top four players on the Tour in his career. 

Ruud’s tactic of taking the ball early by standing inside the court continued to bring him success against his opponent who looked as if he might be suffering from the after-effects of playing three five-set matches in a row earlier in the week. Nevertheless, Alcaraz valiantly battled back in what was a tense third set by recovering from a break down. After saving a duo of set points whilst trailing 5-6, he dominated the tiebreaker with a seven-point winning streak to get back into the lead once again.

Closing in on the biggest win of his career, Alcaraz broke midway through the fourth set en route to the title. His 14th ace of the match handed him a duo of championship points. He then sealed victory with the help of another blistering serve out wide which Ruud failed to return, prompting him to collapse onto the floor in sheer joy. 

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As for Ruud, he will rise to No.2 as a result of his US Open performance. It is the second time this year he has been runner-up at a major after settling for second best against Rafael Nadal at the French Open.  

“It’s tough to explain but things have been going so well. Today was a special evening for both Carlos and I. We knew what was at stake, and I think it’s fitting both finalists will be number one and number two in the world. I’m happy with that number and I will continue to chase that ranking and my first Grand Slam,” he said.
“I owe everything to my family and they’ve been caring, helpful, thoughtful in all my career. They are the reason I am able to be here today and I hope we can continue to be a strong team in the future.”

This year marks the first time there has been a change concerning the No.1 ranking following the conclusion of the US Open since 2003 when Juan Carlos Ferrero did so. Coincidentally Ferro is Alcaraz’s coach and has been mentoring him since the age of 16. 

Thanks to him I’m lifting this trophy today. Juan Carlos to me is my second father. He could train a lot of top players but he decided to be with me at 16. Juan Carlos to me means everything,” the new champion told Amazon Prime.

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final

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Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 

 

Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

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