The Number Ones

All smiles: Alcaraz's joyful game carried him to No. 1

Spaniard became youngest year-end No. 1 in 2022
June 04, 2024
Carlos Alcaraz rose to World No. 1 after winning the 2022 US Open.
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz rose to World No. 1 after winning the 2022 US Open. By Arthur Kapetanakis

In 2022, Carlos Alcaraz broke Lleyton Hewitt's record as the youngest World No. 1 when he rose to the summit of the PIF ATP Rankings at the age of 19. View Full List.

First week at No. 1: 12 September 2022
Total weeks at No. 1: 36
Year-End No. 1: 2022

At World No. 1
Alcaraz completed a historic double at the 2022 US Open by winning his maiden Grand Slam title and rising to the top spot in the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time. In a high-stakes final that doubled as a straight shootout for No. 1, Alcaraz defeated Casper Ruud in four sets to reach the pinnacle of the men's game. The Spaniard held onto his position to finish 2022 as ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by PIF, receiving the honour at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin despite missing the season finale due to injury.

Grand Slam Highlights
Alcaraz made his first big Grand Slam statement at the 2021 US Open, his fourth major, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a fifth-set tie-break as part of a breakout quarter-final run. After reaching the Roland Garros quarters the next season, he went all the way in his second US Open appearance. A marathon man in New York, the Spaniard won consecutive five-setters against Marin Cilic, Jannik Sinner and Frances Tiafoe before claiming his first major crown against Ruud. Along the way, he saved a match point against Sinner in a quarter-final match that ended at a record-late 2:50 a.m. In 2023, Alcaraz won Wimbledon by ending Novak Djokovic's 34-match winning streak at the grass-court major. After losing just two sets en route to the final, Alcaraz weathered an early Djokovic storm to win a classic five-set final — a result that prevented the Serbian from overtaking him as No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings.

<a href=''>Carlos Alcaraz</a>
Alcaraz lifts the 2023 Wimbledon title. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Nitto ATP Finals Highlights
After missing out on the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals with an abdominal injury, Alcaraz made his Turin debut in 2023. With straight-sets wins against Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, the Spaniard finished top of his group to set up a semi-final showdown with Novak Djokovic. The Serbian hit top gear in the knockout rounds to beat Alcaraz en route to his record-breaking seventh Nitto ATP Finals title, improving to 3-2 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head against Alcaraz in the process.

ATP Masters 1000 Highlights
Alcaraz's rapid rise to superstardom accelerated with his eye-popping results at the ATP Masters 1000 events in early 2022. After a semi-final run in Indian Wells that culminated in a three-set defeat to fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal, Alcaraz won what was then the biggest title of his career in Miami with the loss of just one set. As the 14th seed, he escaped a third-set tie-break against Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarters before beating Hubert Hurkacz and Ruud in the last two rounds to announce himself as the next big thing on the ATP Tour. Alcaraz backed that up by winning the Madrid title, beating Nadal and Djokovic in consecutive three-setters before dominating Alexander Zverev in the final on home soil. He won another two ATP Masters 1000s in 2023, beating Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells final and Jan-Lennard Struff to retain the Madrid crown. In 2024, Alcaraz successfully defended his Indian Wells title by again beating Medvedev.

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Biggest Rivalries
Alcaraz and Sinner have set themselves apart as the class of the younger generation, and their Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry was knotted at 4-4 by Alcaraz's win in the 2024 Indian Wells semi-finals. The good friends, who first matched up on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2019, are likely to battle it out on the court and at the top of the PIF ATP Rankings for much of the next decade. Their 2022 US Open quarter-final match remains the most epic of their early meetings in terms of scoreline, but the shotmaking in each of the pair's meetings makes each one a must-watch. Alcaraz had also made a habit of meeting Djokovic on the game's biggest stages, with each player winning a final-set tie-break against the other: Alcaraz in their first meeting in Madrid in 2022, Djokovic in the thrilling 2023 Cincinnati final. Each of the pair's first five Lexus ATP Head2Head meetings came at either an ATP Masters 1000, a Grand Slam or the Nitto ATP Finals.

<a href=''>Carlos Alcaraz</a> and <a href=''>Jannik Sinner</a>
Alcaraz and Sinner at Indian Wells in 2024. Photo by Pete Staples/ATP Tour.

Still in his early 20s, Alcaraz has already built a strong legacy thanks to his early success and the unbridled joy with which he plays. The Spaniard often talks about his desire to put on a show for the crowd, with celebrities often flocking to his matches to witness his unique brand of tennis in person. While fans and media members alike were quick to compare him to fellow Spaniard Nadal early in his career, Alcaraz is writing his own story with each passing victory.

Memorable Moment
Though he has climbed much higher since, the sparkling stretch from Alcaraz's title run at the 2021 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF through his Madrid trophy triumph in 2022 established him among the ATP Tour's elite, with the Spaniard rising from outside the Top 30 up to World No. 6 across four months to start the 2022 season. That period included titles in Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid. In the Spanish capital, he beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on consecutive days to send the hype surrounding his game into overdrive.

Nadal on Alcaraz
"It's a good thing that as a player I will not face him many times," Nadal said in March 2024, "As a fan, I will enjoy watching him for many years hopefully. In Spain, we should be very, very happy about having someone like Carlos coming. He's an amazing player. He's only 20 years old and he's already won two Grand Slams."

Alcaraz on Alcaraz
"I'm winning all the time because I am smiling," Alcaraz said at Roland Garros in 2023. "And I always said that smiling for me is the key of everything."

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