An in-depth look at the rapid rise of Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz

By Sports Desk July 17, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz won his second grand slam before turning 21 with Sunday’s Wimbledon triumph.

Alcaraz is outstripping the achievements of runner-up Novak Djokovic and the rest of the modern ‘big three’ at the same age and here, the PA news agency looks at the statistics behind the Spaniard’s rapid rise to prominence.

Double delight

After winning last year’s US Open to become the youngest ever men’s world number one, and the first teenager to top the rankings, Alcaraz defeated Djokovic in five hard-fought sets at SW19 to double his grand slam tally.

The win means he has matched compatriot Rafael Nadal’s two majors before turning 21, while Djokovic won only the 2008 Australian Open and Roger Federer had not opened his account by that age.

Alcaraz will have two more chances before his 21st birthday, his US Open defence starting next month and then January’s Australian Open. Winning both would see him equal Mats Wilander’s Open era record of four slams before turning 21, while one success would match Bjorn Borg for second place on that list.

He has also spent 29 weeks at number one in the rankings in four separate spells, including his current four-week run – something neither Djokovic, Federer nor Nadal achieved before turning 21.

Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin are the only other under-21s to top the men’s rankings – Safin for just two weeks in 2000. Hewitt spent 61 weeks at number one before turning 21, with Alcaraz able to overhaul that record if he can retain his status for 32 of the 41 weeks before his next birthday.

Should he hold top spot at the end of the season and through the off-season, that will account for six weeks. However, he would almost certainly need to win the US Open where he is defending last year’s points and Djokovic, who missed out last year due to being unvaccinated against Covid-19, will be gaining points all the way.

Lost generation

Outside of the US Open, Alcaraz is remarkably the first man born after Djokovic to win any of the other three grand slams.

Since Safin’s 2005 Australian Open title, that competition has been won 10 times by Djokovic – born in May 1987 – with five wins for Federer, born in 1981, two for Nadal (1986) and one for Stan Wawrinka (1985).

Nadal has dominated the French Open with 14 wins, with three for Djokovic and one each for Federer and Wawrinka, while the Wimbledon titles had until Sunday been shared by Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray – a week older than Djokovic.

Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic, both born in 1988, Dominic Thiem (1993) and Daniil Medvedev (1996) have all won the US Open in addition to Alcaraz himself, the last three in successive years.

Alcaraz’s two majors and 29 weeks at number one compare to the four US Open titles and 16 weeks with Medvedev at number one for all male players born between himself and Djokovic. By contrast on the women’s side, players born in this period have won 33 grand slams and spent 458 weeks at world number one.

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