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Carlos Alcaraz set to become youngest player since Rafael Nadal to crack the Top-5 of the ATP rankings

Carlos Alcaraz creates yet another piece of tennis history alongside Rafael Nadal
Carlos Alcaraz creates yet another piece of tennis history alongside Rafael Nadal
Aayush Majumdar

Carlos Alcaraz created another bit of tennis history by reaching the final of the Hamburg Open on Saturday. The rapidly rising teenage tennis sensation will become the youngest player since his compatriot Rafael Nadal in 2005 to enter the top-5 when the latest round of ATP rankings is released on Monday.

The Spaniard achieved the feat by defeating Alex Molcan to reach the final in his debut appearance at the Hamburg Open in Germany. Alcaraz will face Italian player Lorenzo Musetti in a battle of 'future stars.'

Alcaraz will officially enter the top 5 at the age of 19 years and 2 months, three months older than the now 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard first reached the top 5 in the men's tennis rankings at the age of 18 years and 11 months.

19yo2m18d Carlos Alcaraz will be a top 5 player on Monday, the youngest since Rafael Nadal in 2005. https://t.co/AYRj40di8v

Earlier this year, Carlos Alcaraz emulated Rafael Nadal when he became the youngest player to crack the ATP top-10 since Nadal did so in 2005. Alcaraz achieved the same by reaching the semifinals of the Barcelona Open in April, just a month shy of 19th birthday. Interestingly, the teenager confirmed his entry into the top 10 for the first time in his career on the same day that Nadal cracked the top-10 back in 2005.

In the same week last year, Alcaraz was at No. 55 in the rankings. He started the ongoing season as the World No. 32 and made his top-20 debut on February 21, 2022. The Spaniard has not dropped out of the top 10 even once since he first entered on April 25.

Courtesy of his 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Molcan, Alcaraz reached his fifth ATP final of the 2022 season. He did not lose a single set in his previous four finals this year, which came against players of the caliber of Diego Schwartzman at the Rio Open, Casper Ruud at the Miami Open, Pablo Carreno Busta at the Barcelona Open, and Alexander Zverev at the Madrid Open.

Another Final for Carlitos 🙌Top seed @carlosalcaraz takes out Molcan 7-6 6-1 and will contest his 5th ATP final this season!@hamburgopen https://t.co/0bWAMXnSa4

Meanwhile, Alcaraz has been in great form at the Hamburg Open, his first tournament since a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon. He dropped just two games in all against Karen Khachanov in Friday's quarterfinals and has dropped just one set in four matches leading up to the final.

"I don’t think I am the best player right now" - Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz in action at the Hamburg European Open 2022
Carlos Alcaraz in action at the Hamburg European Open 2022

If Carlos Alcaraz beats Lorenzo Musetti in Sunday's Hamburg Open final, he will break a tie with Nadal himself for most ATP titles this season by winning his fifth title of 2022. He has been among the most accomplished players this year, attracting claims that he is the 'best player in the world' right now. But the 19-year-old himself chose not to believe the same.

Speaking during a recent press conference at the Hamburg Open, Alcaraz stated that the likes of Nadal and Novak Djokovic, among others, are currently ahead of him.

"I don't think I am the best player right now, I mean, Novak [Djokovic] won Wimbledon, Rafa [Nadal] Roland Garros and Australia, so there are a lot of great players ahead of me right now," Carlos Alcaraz said on the same.

Having said that, he takes it as added motivation to improve himself and become the best player in the world.

“I didn’t take it as a pressure. It is just motivation for me, but I don’t think I am the best player right now," Alcaraz added.
From WAYYY back 🔥Just enormous from @carlosalcaraz!@hamburgopen https://t.co/1PugL2o9GY

After concluding the tournament on the claycourts of Hamburg, the young Spaniard will soon shift his focus to the American hardcourt swing. After an early exit at Wimbledon, Alcaraz will aim to strike gold at the US Open, where he reached the quarterfinals in 2021.


Edited by Keshav Gopalan

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