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Alcaraz Celebrates Coronation, Shares Comeback Plan

By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz spent much of these ATP Finals pushing buttons.

Today, Alcaraz hoisted history.

Nadal: I'm Going to Die For It

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi presented Alcaraz with the shiny, silver year-end world No. 1 trophy in a moment that is a seismic shift in the sport.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz is the youngest year-end world No. 1 in the history of the 50-season ATP year-end rankings. Alcaraz broke the prior youngest year-end record set by Hall of Famer Lleyton Hewitt, who was 20 when he defeated Sebastien Grosjean to win the 2001 ATP Finals and seal the top spot before his home fans in Sydney, Australia.

"It means a lot to me," Alcaraz told the media in Turin. "I mean, to get this trophy, the world No. 1, to be part of tennis history along with a lot of legends, for me is an amazing feeling...

"It's an amazing achievement. I mean, all the hard work pays off. Yeah, for me it's incredible to lift this trophy today."

Embed from Getty Images

It's been a rocket ride to the top of tennis for Alcaraz, who conquered Casper Ruud to win his maiden major championship at the US Open last September. Alcaraz concludes the 2022 season with a 57-13 record, five tournament titles, and $7.6 million in prize money.

Alcaraz finished 2021 ranked No. 32—his 31-spot rise to No. 1 is the biggest leap to the top spot from one year-end ranking to the next.

While celebrating coronation, Alcaraz admitted missing competition.

The Spanish teenager tore his left abdominal muscle at the Rolex Paris Masters last month, pulled the plug on his quarterfinal vs. 19-year-old Dane Holger Rune and was forced to withdraw from both the ATP Finals and Davis Cup Finals. Alcaraz says he's been recovering and working his remote watching all the action from Turin on TV.

Alcaraz said his recovery is going well and he's confident he will be 100 percent healthy in time for the 2023 Australian Open.

"Well, [recovery] is going really well. Is going really fast, as well," Alcaraz said. "I'm really focused on recovering as soon as possible. But I could say in a week we improve a lot in the injury. I'm going to say at the beginning of the season, I'm going to be ready, I'm going to be 100%."

Tennis Express

Will Alcaraz play a tune-up tournament in preparation for the Australian Open, which starts on January 16th?

As of now, Alcaraz says the plan is to go directly to Melbourne to practice and acclimate to conditions before launching 2023 at the AO.

"Right now I have some days off, some holidays, I mean, to disconnect a little bit, to take a rest," Alcaraz said. "But after that I am focused on the pre-season, I'm focused on improve, starting Australian Open as better as I can.

"I'm going to say I go to the Grand Slam, to the Australian Open, I'm going to go the first days of January.

"At the moment that's the plan. I'm going to say that's the plan. Of course, I don't know how the injure is going to go. But I could say I go directly to Australian Open."

Photo credit: Marco Bertorello