It is not only the what (champion in Indian Wells, third Masters 1000 of his career, at age 19) or how (with the authority of someone who does not give up a set throughout the tournament. something that only Federer, in 2017, and Nadal, in 2007), but also the when (a year after presenting his candidacy in the semifinals of this same competition, taking Rafael Nadal to the limit, three weeks after being injured against Cameron Norrie in the final in Rio de Janeiro and generating doubts about a committed physique since the last part of last season).
Carlos Alcaraz has answered many questions with the conquest of his eighth title after a winding layout, in which he was faced with different challenges. Yes, he had won the ATP250 of Buenos Aires and had appeared in the aforementioned final, but, alas, that new mishap could warn that something was not right, perhaps the chassis did not work in the same way as the steering and gear change, as tuned as in the season of its explosion. But he himself made it clear, before the start of the first Masters 1000 of the course, that he was one hundred percent, that he was not worried about that apparent fragility.
Events were going to prove him right. Champion and again number 1 in the world, status that Novak Djokovic had deprived him of with his triumph at the Australian Open, where our protagonist was absent due to injury. Champion, and in what way, because along the way he was leaving exquisite corpses. Look at it. Eighth-finals. Felix Auger-Aliassime, who had three victories against him in as many previous matches. This time, he applied a 6-4 double. Quarters. Jannick Sinner, who beat him last year in the second round of Wimbledon and in the final of Umag, who had offered a tenacious resistance in the quarters of the US Open, even having a match point. This time, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Daniil Medvedev, who appeared in the final with three consecutive titles (Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai), a total of 19 games without giving truce, until he met that player of "incredible skills, difficult to compare with others", as he said on the eve of the match, before suffering them in his own flesh: 6-3 and 6-2.
Another illustrious surpassed
Carlitos attacks the established order, something he had already done last year, beating Nadal, Djokovic and Zverev in Madrid, leaving no puppet with head in the US Open. Medvedev, former world number 1, winner of the US Open in 2021, which easily defeated him in the first round of Wimbledon 2021, when the kid was still a project, joins those who have felt his scourge.
Medvedev is 27 years old. He is already a middle-aged player in tennis. But Auger-Aliassime is 22. and Sinner, 21. Perhaps it is too early to write off men like Stefanos Tsitsipas or Alexander Zverev himself, but it is others who begin to knock on the door, the one that Alcaraz has already knocked down, it is they with whom he will have to litigate for the future.
None travels as fast as him, already with a Grand Slam title and three Masters 1000, with two steps for the world number 1, however ephemeral this may be, because he needs to successfully defend the title won in 2022 in Miami to not give it back to Djokovic on April 3. Nadal, this week knocked out of the top 10 for the first time in nearly 18 years, won six Masters 1000s before turning 20. It is with tennis players of such competitive height with whom he begins to build bridges.
In Miami, where he won his first Masters 2022 in 1000, he has the possibility of certifying the 'Sunshine Double', something that only seven players have achieved. It is about chaining in the same season the titles in Indian Wells and in the tournament that begins this week. The first to do so was Jim Courier, in 1991. He was followed by Michael Chang, a year later. Pete Sampras, in 1994, Marcelo Rios, in 1998 and Andre Agassi in 2001. Roger Federer signed it in 2005, 2006 and 2017 and Novak Djokovic in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Again without Djokovic or Nadal in the draw, Alcaraz could find himself in the quarterfinals with the Danish Holger Rune, another of those who is running for the leading group in the not too distant future, and with Ruud, Rublev, Zverev or Sinner in the semifinals. With Medvedev he would only meet in another hypothetical final
According to The Trust Project criteria
- Carlos Alcaraz
- Rafa Nadal
- Novak Djokovic