When Carlos Alcaraz played his first Madrid Open at age 18, his goal was to gain experience and learn from the best players.
Just a year later, Alcaraz already feels among the best.
The Spanish teen sensation capped off another impressive week with a straight-set win over Alexander Zverev on Sunday to win the Madrid Open and become the second-youngest player to win two Masters 1000 titles.
His comfortable 6-3 6-1 win over Zverev followed wins over his idol Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals and Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
“Last year I was going through these experiences for the first time, playing against the best players, playing in the Masters 1000, and I learned a lot,” Alcaraz said.
“Now it’s different. I enter the court knowing I can win, with the confidence that I can win at any moment.”
Alcaraz became the youngest winner in Madrid and the second youngest to win two Masters 1000 trophies after Nadal won in Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005.
It was Alcaraz’s seventh straight win over a top 10 player, and his fourth Tour Leader of the Year title after victories in Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona. He also has the most wins this season with 28, one more than Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Zverev praises the winner but takes a serve on the schedule
German Zverev was trying to win his second title in a row in Madrid and his third overall. He only praised Alcaraz after the match.
“Right now you are the best player in the world,” Zverev said ahead of the trophy-giving ceremony and joked about his opponent’s age.
The jokes ended after the ceremony, however, when Zverev criticized organizers for the schedule of his matches.
“The schedule needs to be better… Yesterday I started my match at 11 pm. I played three sets. I finished at 1:30 pm,” Zverev told reporters.
“Until I get back to the hotel, until I eat, until I do my physio work, because I have to prepare my body for the next day, it’s 5 in the morning.
“If you stay up until 4-5 in the morning, the next day you are tired. If you do this two nights in a row, you are completely dead. You are destroyed, you will not be able to do physical activity at the maximum level.”
Zverev – who was the defending champions in Madrid – said he was upset that the final had lost its luster as a result, as fans had expected an even contest, although most were rooting for Spain’s Alcaraz.
While Alcaraz won his first Masters 1000 tournament in Miami earlier this year, he won in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. His first career title came in Umag last year.
Alcaraz’s three defeats this season have been against Sebastian Korda at Monte Carlo, Nadal at Indian Wells and Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open.
After long three-set victories over Nadal and Djokovic, seventh seed Alcaraz maintained his high energy from the start against Zverev and was in control throughout the match in the center court of the “Caja Mágica”.
He didn’t face any break points and converted four of the eight he had against second seed Zverev.
Alcaraz had 11 unforced errors compared to 25 for Zverev.
“I’m 19 years old, which I think is the key to playing long, difficult matches in a row. I’m feeling really good physically,” Alcaraz said.
He said it was special to win in Madrid, where he started watching tennis at a young age.