After the defeats of Stefanos Tsitsipas against Novak Djokovic on Monday and this Tuesday of Rafael Nadal against Felix Auger-Aliassime, Carlos Alcaraz is guaranteed to end the year in first place in the world. The Spaniard thus becomes at 19 the youngest player in history to finish the season on the throne of number 1.
Winner of the US Open and rewarded with his coronation in New York – his first Grand Slam – by finding himself propelled to first place in the world rankings, at only 19 years old, Carlos Alcaraz had become the youngest player in history. to rise to the top of the hierarchy. The little Spanish prodigy has just written another page in the history of tennis. He will indeed end the year in the throne of world number 1. The protege of Juan Carlos Ferrero, world number 1 also in his heyday, becomes at the same time the youngest world number 1 to finish the year at the top of the rankings. Alcaraz had only two rivals in this final sprint for first place at the end of the season: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal. Since the Greek’s new loss to Novak Djokovic on Monday, the 19-year-old Spanish alien had only one potential opponent left, and that was Nadal. However, everything suggested that the Mallorcan would no longer be one very soon. On Tuesday, the world number 2 had indeed lost his second match in this Masters, against Felix Auger-Aliassime. The man with 22 Grand Slam titles therefore found himself at the gates of the exit, which means that he could very quickly leave the field open to his young compatriot.
For Nadal, it would have taken a miracle
So, of course, Nadal was not yet mathematically eliminated. He could even still qualify, but it needed a miracle. For the Spaniard to stay in the race, he had to rely on a single scenario. Namely that Taylor Fritz beat Casper Ruud in two sets, that Nadal also won against the Norwegian in two sets on Thursday, before Fritz won in turn without losing a set, also on Thursday. The three players would then have found themselves tied, including the number of sets. The decision would then have been made based on the percentage of games won. And for Nadal to emerge victorious from this three-headed struggle, he would then have had to sweep Ruud away and Fritz, at the same time, also slap Auger-Aliassime. Only then, Alcaraz would not yet have been assured of ending the year in the shoes of the youngest number 1 in history. But it was almost unlikely. By taking the first set from Fritz, Ruud ended the suspense. Alcaraz therefore finished well in first place and became the youngest player in history to achieve this. As for Nadal, this time he is officially eliminated.