The future of tennis arrived at 7.38 pm on Sunday with a rocketed serve from the racquet of Carlos Alcaraz who clinched the US Open Men’s Singles Championship announcing the start of a new era in the game. — Matthew Futterman, New York Times

By Roger Childs

The Torch Has Been Passed to a New Generation — the teenage number one

Back in April, Carlos Alcarez won the Barcelona Open and then the next month, in his country’s capital Madrid, the nineteen-year-old Spaniard triumphed again. At the time he was regarded as the great tennis find of 2022. The world number one Novak Djokovic commented He is the future of men’s tennis and also the present. 

Earlier in the year he had also won the prestigious Miami 1000 tournament.

However, the measure of greatness in tennis singles is winning a grand slam and Alcaraz could not follow up the Spanish titles with success in the two mid-year majors – the French Open and Wimbledon. Could he show his superiority in the final grand slam of 2022 — the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows in New York?  

He qualified for the final to face Norwegian Casper Ruud. But only just.  American Frances Tiafoe took him to five sets in the semi-final. Ahead of the final, one thing was not in doubt, the winner would be a first time grand slam winner and move to the top of the world rankings.

The complete game bring its rewards

Coached by Spaniard Juan Ferrero, Carlos Alcaraz has wonderful tennis skills. He is superbly fit and has amazing speed around the court. He has a great sense of anticipation, a strong, reliable serve and his ground strokes are usually played with immense power. One of his classic shots is a well-disguised drop shot and his frequent use of this deceptive play in recent tournaments has encouraged other players to employ it more. Alcaraz has the tall, lithe build of most top male tennis players and a broad smile. He is very modest about his achievements.

Even though he only had his 19th birthday back in May he has been playing in 2022 with the maturity of the greats. In the Spanish Open he beat the legendary Rafael Nadal in the quarter finals, world number one Djokovic in the semis and then the second seed Alexander Zverev in the final. The matches against Nadal and Djokovic were close, but he thrashed the German, 6-3 6-1 to take the trophy.

He commented after his victory: This tournament is special for me because it’s a tournament I came and watched when I was seven or eight.

Well-deserved success

This was Casper Ruud’s second grand slam final in a row. He predictably lost to Rafal Nadal at Roland Garros in June, however this time he might have fancied his chances. At the beginning of the fourth set he was still in the match with the score at 4-6, 6-2, 6-7 but the Spaniard was just too consistent with his power and unpredictable shots, and ran out the winner in that set 6-3.

“This is something which I dreamt of since I was a kid, being number one in the world and a champion of a Grand Slam,” said Alcaraz

So men’s tennis, so long dominated by Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, has entered a new era with the world. The three legends have an average age in the mid-thirties while Alcaraz and Ruud, the new world numbers one and two, have just 42 years between them.