Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz displayed explosive power and demonstrated impressive touch around the net as he overcame a fighting Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-3 to clinch his maiden Grand Slam trophy -- the US Open crown -- and secure the world No. 1 ranking on Monday (IST).
The 19-year-old Alcaraz won 76 per cent of net points (34/45) to outlast his opponent inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium after a nearly three hours and 20 minute slugfest. This was Alcaraz's 51st tour-level victory of the season
Drained of energy, Alcaraz dropped to the floor following the victory and then climbed up the stands to embrace his coach and former player Juan Carlos Ferrero.
"It is something I have dreamt of since I was a kid. To be No. 1 in the world, to be champion of a Grand Slam, is something I have worked really, really hard (for)," Alcaraz was quoted as saying by ATP.
"It is tough to talk right now, I have lots of emotions. This is something I have tried to achieve. All the hard work I have done with my team and my family. I am just 19-years-old, all the tough decisions have been with my parents and my team as well. It is something that is really special for me," he added.
It has been an energy sapping US Open for Alcaraz, who endured three consecutive five-set matches to reach his first Grand Slam final. He spent 20 hours and 19 minutes on court across six games on way to the title showdown with Ruud.
"There is no time to be tired in the final rounds of a Grand Slam... You have to be ready and give everything you have inside. It is something I work really hard for," Alcaraz said.
Alcaraz has become the youngest Grand Slam winner since Spanish stalwart Rafael Nadal, 19, lifted the French Open trophy in 2005, while he is the youngest US Open winner since American legend Pete Sampras, 19, in 1990.
Alcaraz arrived in New York as the world No. 4 but leaves the Flushing Meadows at the top-ranked player, becoming the youngest to rise to tennis' pinnacle in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973).
The Spaniard has also equalled the biggest jump to No. 1, while he is the fourth Spaniard to climb to the top, joining coach Ferrero, Carlos Moya and Nadal.
Alcaraz spent a total of 23 hours and 39 minutes on court on way to the crown, passing Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon in 2018 for most time played at a single Grand Slam tournament on record (since 1999).
Ruud, who had lost to Nadal in the French Open final in June, was bidding to become the 28th player and first Norwegian to jump to No. 1.
"Things have been going so well. Today was a special evening," Ruud said. "Both Carlos (Alcaraz) and I knew what we were playing for and what was at stake. We will be No. 2 and No. 1 in the world, I think it is fitting. I am disappointed of course that I am not No. 1, but No. 2 is not bad either. I am happy with that number and I will continue to chase for my first Grand Slam title and No. 1 ranking," added Ruud.
Youngest World No. 1s In ATP Rankings:
Carlos Alcaraz 19 years, four months 12 Sep. 2022
Lleyton Hewitt 20 years, nine months 19 Nov. 2001
Marat Safin 20 years,10 months 20 Nov. 2000
John McEnroe 21 years, one month 3 March. 1980
Andy Roddick 21 years, two months 3 Nov. 2003
Bjorn Borg 21 years, three months 23 Aug. 1977.