Teen wonder Alcaraz targets Grand Slam glory after Miami Open triumph


Spanish wunderkind Carlos Alcaraz set his sights on the Grand Slam tournaments – the tennis circuit’s most coveted titles – following a win at the Miami Masters which took him on Monday to a high of 11th in the world rankings.

The 18-year-old beat the sixth seed Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-4 in Sunday’s final to claim his first Masters crown and the third title of his nascent career.

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With the 1000 points from the victory at one of the most prestigious competitions on the tour, the 14th seed rose from 16th to 11th in the ATP rankings which were updated on Monday.

Only Michael Chang in Toronto in 1990 and Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo in 2005 were younger than Alcaraz’s 18 years and 333 days when they won their first Masters titles.

“I am achieving very difficult things like winning here at Miami and previously at Rio, two incredible tournaments where great players are also competing,” said Alcaraz.

“At the start of the year I said I wanted to finish among the top 15 and now I am the world number 11.

“I wanted to win an ATP 500 and I did it in Rio and then I wanted to win an ATP 1000 and I did it here in Miami.”

During his six match surge to glory, Alcaraz beat the third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last 16, the eighth seed and defending champion Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-final before outwitting Ruud.

In the Grand Slam tournaments in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York, players have to battle through seven matches over the best of five sets to claim the trophy.

“I am not afraid to say that I want to win a Grand Slam,” added Alcaraz. “I know it is going to be a difficult path because you are playing against the best players in the world during two weeks. But I am not afraid I will try to win a Grand Slam.”

Challenge

With his coronation in Miami, Alcaraz grabbed a couple of exclusives.

He replaced Novak Djokovic as the youngest champion in the 37-year history of the tournament. The Serb was 19 in 2007 when he won the first of his six Miami crowns.

Alcaraz also became the first Spaniard to lift the trophy. Sergi Brugera, Carlos Moya and David Ferrer all slumped in the final. Nadal – his idol – has lost on his five trips to the showdown.

“I’ve looked up to Rafa,” said Alcaraz. “I remember his matches, his big matches and big moments and I’ve learnt a lot from that.

“And now I’m on the tour and have been able to play with him and to share the court with him in places like Madrid and Indian Wells … it is pretty amazing.”

Originally published on RFI

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