PARIS: Carlos Alcaraz said finishing the year as the world’s youngest tennis number one was “an incredible achievement” and a reward for his hard work.
The Spaniard will be 19 years and 214 days old on December 5, the date of the 2022 year-end rankings, when he will take on the role of the youngest of Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who was 20 years and 275 days old in 2001.
Alcaraz was guaranteed to finish number one on Tuesday when Casper Ruud overcome Taylor Fritz, which prevented Rafael Nadal from reaching the last four in the ATP Finals in Turin. The older Spaniard needed to win the tournament to finish the season number one.
Alcaraz started the year ranked 32nd in the world and made the biggest move to finish top in 50 years of rankings. He couldn’t play in Turin due to an abdominal injury.
He becomes the first player outside the Big Four of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal to top the final standings since Andy Roddick in 2003.
“It means a lot to me. I mean, getting that trophy, world No. 1, being part of tennis history with a lot of legends, for me, it’s an incredible feeling,” Alcaraz said during an interview. a press conference on Wednesday. .
“It’s an amazing achievement. I mean, all the hard work pays off.
“Yeah, for me it’s amazing to lift this trophy today.”
Ending the year as the youngest number one is just the latest milestone for the modest and muscular star from the small Murcian town of El Palmar.
Alcaraz learned the game at a tennis school run by his father.
Alcaraz hit it big in Madrid in May when he became the only man to beat Nadal and Djokovic in the same event on clay.
When he broke into the world top five in July, he was the youngest man to do so since 2005.
His coach, former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero, believes that if Alcaraz stays fit he is capable of winning 30 Grand Slam titles. Nadal holds the record at 22.
Despite frustration at not being able to play this week, Alcaraz said he was encouraged by how quickly his injury was healing.
“It’s going really well,” he said.
“It’s going very fast too.
“I could say that in a week we have improved a lot on the injury.
“I’m going to say at the start of the season, I’m going to be ready, I’m going to be 100 per cent.”
Alcaraz said after the holidays he would skip any preparatory tournaments and go straight to the Australian Open which kicks off on January 16 in Melbourne.
Alcaraz has reached the third round of this year’s edition
“After the holidays I’m focusing on pre-season, focusing on improving, starting the Australian Open as best I can.
“I don’t know how the injury is going to go. But I could say I’m going straight to the Australian Open.”



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