Carlos Alcaraz says he doesn’t “have any limits” after becoming the youngest player since Rafael Nadal in 2005 to break into the ATP top 10.
Alcaraz won the Barcelona Open on Sunday to clinch his third title of a hugely impressive season.
He has also lifted titles in Rio de Janeiro and Miami, and has moved up to No. 9 in the world rankings. He is also third in the Race to Turin standings behind Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Aged 18 years, 11 months and 20 days, Alcaraz is the ninth-youngest player to break into the top 10 of the ATP rankings. Nadal was the last 18-year-old to do so, also after winning the Barcelona Open for the first time in 2005.
“I’m happy to know that at 18 years old I’m in the top 10, and to do it at the same age as my idol Rafa is impressive,” said Alcaraz.
“I don’t have any limits. I want to keep playing at the level I’m at and I think that if I keep going like this I have a lot of options to keep going up.
“I want to keep enjoying myself on the court, I don’t want to touch the ceiling yet.”
Youngest top-10 ATP players
Aaron Krickstein (USA) – 13 August 1984, 17 years, 11 days
Michael Chang (USA) – 12 June 1989, 17 years, 3 months
Boris Becker (GER) – 8 July 1985, 17 years, 7 months
Mats Wilander (SWE) – 12 July 1982, 17 years, 10 months
Bjorn Borg (SWE) – 3 June 1974, 17 years, 11 months
Andre Agassi (USA) – 6 June 1988, 18 years, 1 month
Andrei Medvedev (UKR) – 7 June 1993, 18 years, 9 months
Rafael Nadal (ESP) – 25 April 2005, 18 years, 10 months
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) – 25 April 2022, 18 years, 11 months
As well as becoming one of the youngster players to break into the top 10, Alcaraz has hit 50 tour-level wins in record time.
He has reached 50 wins from 70 matches, which is better than Novak Djokovic (79), Nadal (81) and Roger Federer (97). It is also quicker than Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, who recorded 50 wins from his first 73 matches.
This time last year Alcaraz was ranked outside the top 100 in the world and lost to Frances Tiafoe in straight sets in the first round in Barcelona.
Now he’s regarded as one of the best players on tour and is expected to challenge for his first Grand Slam title at the French Open in June.
Nadal added his congratulations after seeing Alcaraz beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the Barcelona Open final.
“Congratulations to Carlos for the title in Barcelona!” Nadal tweeted. “Also to Pablo for making the final. A spectacular week for both and for Spanish tennis that once again has a winner.”
Nadal himself has hit a landmark this week, reaching 17 consecutive years in the top 10.
Nadal moved up from No. 11 to No. 7 in the world after winning Barcelona in 2005 and has not left the top 10 since, despite several injuries. He is now ranked No. 4 in the world after his impressive start to the season that saw him win three titles in a row before losing to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final.
He has held the record for most successive weeks in the top 10 since November 2020 and is now at 866 weeks, clear of Jimmy Connors’ previous record of 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988.
Federer’s longest run was 619 weeks from 2002 to 2016.
Even though he is currently out of action with a rib injury, it seems unlikely that Nadal is going to drop out of the top 10 anytime soon. He has amassed a tour-leading 3,350 points this season and the only significant points he has to defend are at the Italian Open and French Open. It is expected that Nadal will return to action at the Madrid Open, which starts on May 1.