Alcaraz wins U.S. Open and becomes world number one

Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz completed his rapid rise to the top of the tennis world on Sunday, claiming his first Grand Slam title and taking the number one ranking with a 6-4 2-6 7-6(1) 6-3 win over Norway’s Casper Ruud in the U.S. Open final.

Alcaraz, 19, fell to his back and cupped his hands to his face before jumping up to embrace Ruud at the net. He then climbed past photographers and into the stands to celebrate in his box with his team.

“This is something I dreamed of since I was a kid, to be number one in the world, to be the champion at a Grand Slam,” Alcaraz said in an on-court interview.

“All the hard work that I did with my team, with my family. I’m just 19-years-old so all of the tough decisions are with my parents and my team as well.

“This is something that is really, really special for me.”

“Bravo Carlitos!” was displayed on a banner inside the stadium for the tennis prodigy from El Palmar.

The electrifying Alcaraz, who thrilled fans over the two-week tournament in New York with his explosive speed, booming forehand and acrobatic shotmaking, replaced Russian Daniil Medvedev at the top of the rankings.

He is the youngest world number one since the ATP rankings began in 1973, breaking the mark set by Lleyton Hewitt, who was 20 when he became number one in 2001.

Alcaraz had a difficult path to the title.

He battled from a break down in the fifth set to beat Marin Cilic in the fourth round, played the latest finishing match in tournament history to defeat Italy’s Jannik Sinner in the quarters, and faced down American Frances Tiafoe in the semis.

“I always say that there is no time to be tired in the final round of a Grand Slam or any tournament,” said Alcaraz, who spent 23 hours and 40 minutes on court over his seven matches.

“You have to give everything you have inside.”

Rafa Nadal, the winner of men’s record 22 Grand Slam titles, took to Twitter to offer his congratulations to his countryman and predicted more success was on the way.

“Well, I have one. He has 22,” a beaming Alcaraz told reporters. “I’m in the row.”

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