Carlos Alcaraz becomes youngest men’s top 10 tennis player since Rafael Nadal
Posted On April 25, 2022
Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest man to break into the ATP top 10 since countryman Rafael Nadal almost exactly 17 years ago, moving up to number nine in the world after winning the Barcelona Open.
Alcaraz moved to ninth spot just 10 days short of his 19th birthday after winning his fourth ATP title
Nadal was one month younger when he first reached the top 10, also making the leap by winning the Barcelona Open
Novak Djokovic and Iga Świątek retained their number one spots in the men’s and women’s rankings
Alcaraz won the fourth title of his career by beating eighth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 in the final on Monday, just hours after winning a gruelling semi-final that had been postponed due to rain.
At 18 years, 11 months and 20 days, Alcaraz is now the ninth-youngest man to reach the men’s top 10 since the rankings began in 1973.
Fellow Spaniard Nadal was a month younger when he climbed into the top 10 in April 2005, having also won the title on Barcelona’s clay.
The youngest man to break into the ATP tour’s refined air was Aaron Krickstein, who was 11 days past his 17th birthday when he debuted in August 1984.
Alcaraz is currently tied with Nadal for the most ATP Tour titles in 2022 with three, and has no plans of slowing down after his Barcelona victory.
“I did not think I would reach this stage at 18 years old,” he told a news conference at a junior event.
“It is for the first time for me in the top 10. It means a lot.
“It is just a coincidence that it’s the same with Rafa. I just focus on my game.”
His singles tally stands at four titles after triumphs at Miami and Rio de Janeiro this year and a victory at Umag last July, when he became the youngest tour-level champion since Kei Nishikori claimed the title at Delray Beach in 2008.
The young Spaniard is now seen as one of the favourites for next month’s French Open behind perennial champion Nadal.
“I am playing well, with a lot of confidence for myself. I am going to have chances to get results in Roland Garros, to be in the last rounds,” he said at the IMG Future Stars Under-12 tournament.
“I reached my goal to be [in the] top 10. I want to keep growing as a player, improving every day, trying to keep claiming titles, trying to climb up the rankings.”
Elsewhere, Novak Djokovic remained at number one after finishing as runner-up to Andrey Rublev in the Serbia Open. Daniil Medvedev remains in second spot, followed by Alexander Zverev in third and Nadal in fourth.
In the women’s circuit, Paula Badosa rose to a career-high second place, behind world number one Iga Świątek. Badosa leap-frogged 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejčíková, who dropped to third.