Carlos Alcaraz is the “best player in the world right now”, the most exciting player since the Big Three and destined to rewrite tennis history.
Two weeks before the start of Roland Garros, the young Spaniard brushed aside his third-ranked foe 6-3 6-1 in 62 minutes to continue a run that signals tennis has a new power.
Djokovic is No. 1 in the ranking. You know, because I have won Barcelona, and I have beaten Djokovic and Rafa yesterday in Madrid, I don’t consider myself the best player in the world,” Alcaraz said.
“It feels great to be able to beat these players,” he added. “To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the world No. 3. He is a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview.
Before the Madrid tournament last year, Alcaraz was ranked 120th in the world. On Monday he will reach number six.
On the way he became the youngest US Open quarter-finalist of the Open era last September, then won his first Masters 1000 title in Miami in early April.
Victory on Sunday brought a second Masters 1000 title. The only younger player to reach that milestone was Rafael Nadal, who won in Monte Carlo and Rome when he was 18.
Zverev had no doubt where the teenager’s trajectory is heading. “It’s great to see for tennis that we have such a new superstar who is going to win so many Grand Slams and is going to be world no. 1,” said the German.
Alcaraz entered the tournament fresh from victory in Barcelona. In Madrid, he turned 19 on Thursday and on the next two days battled past Nadal in two hours and 28 minutes and Novak Djokovic in an 3hr 36min.
“I am 19 years old, which I think is the key to be able to play long and tough matches in a row. I am feeling great physically,” he said.
The atmosphere on Sunday did not reach the fervour of the day before, as Alcaraz grabbed control early and cruised to his quickest victory of the week.
Even so, “it was a spectacular atmosphere,” he told the crowd at the end. “This tournament is special for me because it’s the first tournament I watched when I was seven or eight,” said Alcaraz.
“Watching Rafa lift this trophy so often, gave me a lot of power to work hard for this moment.”
The German second seed was impressed. “Carlitos, right now you are the best player in the world. Even though you are still five years old you are still beating us all,” he told Alcaraz on court after the match.
Alcaraz did not allow Zverev a single break point.
Alcaraz broke in the sixth game and comfortably held his serve to take the first set.