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Carlos Alcaraz was barely able to talk as he reflected on winning the US Open at the age of just 19. Alcaraz beat Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, 6-3 in a thrilling final on Sunday night to claim his maiden Grand Slam title and become the youngest-ever ATP world No.1 in the process, usurping his idol Rafael Nadal.
Speaking courtside afterwards, Alcaraz first dedicated his win to those who lost their life on 9/11 exactly 21 years ago. “First I want to let you know my thoughts are with you in this special day,” he told the New York crowd. “It’s never easy to live this but I will remember this day with all of you.
“This is something I dreamed of since I was a kid. I’ve worked really hard and it’s tough to talk right now. There are a lot of emotions. I’m just 19 so all the top decisions are with my parents. But this is very special for me.”
Alcaraz burst into tears on court after winning match point, and said he did so as he was thinking of his family back in Spain. “I was thinking of my mum, she’s not here, and my grandfather,” he continued. “A lot of family are here but there are a lot of people from my family that couldn’t come here to watch the final, to watch some matches. I was thinking of all of them.”
Alcaraz played more than staggering 23 hours in total over the course of the tournament, and admitted: “Yes, I’m a little tired now! In the final round of a Grand Slam you have to give everything on court and everything you have inside. It’s something that I work really hard on and there’s no time to be tired.”
Alcaraz’s defeated opponent Ruud, meanwhile, was gracious in defeat. Speaking about his 2022 in general he said: “It’s tough to explain but things have been going so well. Today was a special evening for both Carlos and I. We knew what was at stake, and I think it’s fitting both finalists will be number one and number two in the world.
“I’m happy with that number and I will continue to chase that ranking and my first Grand Slam.
“I owe everything to my family and they’ve been caring, helpful, thoughtful in all my career. They are the reason I am able to be here today and I hope we can continue to be a strong team in the future.”
Alcaraz now moves to No.1 in the ATP rankings, with Ruud No.2.
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