2022 will always be remembered by Spanish tennis. On the one hand, it will be the year in which Rafa Nadal, at 35 years old and in an exciting way, achieved his 21st Grand Slam, the tiebreaker in the historic race with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The best start ever for the Balearic Islands, who already has three titles and a final waiting to continue expanding his records. Madrid, except surprise, will be the place. On the other, it will be the year of the definitive emergence of Carlos Alcaraz, a prodigy who already showed his potential in 2021, winning the NextGen Finals or the Umag ATP, but now it is a reality. They were not assumptions, wild illusions or mirages: Alcaraz could be among the greats and, after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Godó quarterfinals, he already is.
On Monday, when the ATP world rankings are updated, the prodigy of El Palmar will appear, for sure, 10th. If he beat Álex de Miñaur and reached the final of the ATP 500, he would also be 9th. Félix Auger-Aliassime, eliminated in Barcelona by Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals, will have 3625 points. Alcaraz, if he agrees to the fight for the title, he will add 3627. If he wins it, 200 more (3827).
Top 10 the same day as Nadal
A historic entry in the Top 10. As reported by the ATP itself, Alcaraz will be the 20th player aged 19 or under to access the select club, being the first since Andy Murray in 2007 and the ninth earliest ever. For hope, a fact: twelve of the prodigies later reached the top of the ranking (Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Novak Djokovic…). To be amazed at the whims of fate, two more: Charly is the youngest player to reach the top ten positions since Rafa Nadal in 2005 and, officially, it will reach them the same day as the Balearic Islands: April 25. Both, after passing through the Godó, where Nadal won with 18 years and 10 months. Alcaraz, opposes it with 18 and 11.
Seldom seen precocity, but already intuited. And it is confirmed day by day, tournament by tournament. In Miami, he became the youngest champion of the contest, beating Djokovicand he was third in terms of speed to sign up for a Masters 1,000, after Rafa himself and Michael Chang, whom he pursues in multiple records of precocity. At the US Open 2021, the Spanish player has already become the fastest talent to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the American in 1990. Without leaving the United States, this course, taking into account his participation in Indian Wells, Alcaraz became the youngest player ever to reach the semifinals in the first two Masters 1,000. A constant.
With his entry into the Top 20, after winning the ATP 500 in Rio, the Murcian, who has never been overcome on clay (He has started 17 matches winning the first set and has won them all) made headlines for its precocity (the fastest to arrive from Andrey Medvedev in 1993). Two months later, he does it again. But, already, ten positions higher. There can be no better example.