Carlos Alcaraz becomes youngest year-end No. 1 in men’s tennis as Rafael Nadal’s slump continues at ATP Finals
The 23-year-old Spaniard, who ended 2012 on his longest losing streak since he turned pro in 2002, will face the world’s best again on Sunday as he tries to make sure another final appearance is as close as it can get for him.
Nadal, world no. 2, will be the lone Spaniard left in action, as Roger Federer made his return to action for the first time since 2010 and will be looking to make his third straight Australian Open final.
Alcaraz, who won his first title at this event, could become the first player since Andre Agassi in 1993 to start the year No. 1 in both ATP rankings, according to the ITA.
He is just the fifth man to start the year in the top two rankings since the ITA began ranking them in the 1950s — the other four being Sampras (1952, 1954/55 & 1958/59), Federer (1988/89, 1992/93 & 2000) Steffi Graf (2007/08 & 2013/14) and Murray (2011/12, 2016/17 & 2018/19).
Since 2000, the only other men to start the year in the top two rankings are Serena Williams (2008) and Roger Federer (2001 & 2003). Serena won this event 14 times; Roger three times.
While it is still early, it is the third straight time Nadal’s year has gone the full eight weeks — the longest current streak in world tennis. He started the year on a 15-match winning streak, which is tied with Pete Sampras (15).
His longest active streak is an 11-week winning run that took him from October 31 to December 18, 2007 — a two-month span.
Alcaraz, who had been ranked at No. 4 at the time of his win in Madrid, rose to No. 3 in the ITA season-opening rankings on Monday. The Spaniard, who turned 23 on Jan. 1, will play Federer in the Australian Open final on Sunday.
The Spaniard has