How many 18-year-olds receive a phone call from a king? It is rare indeed but if you have just done what no one else in your nation has achieved then it could very well be possible. Carlos Alcaraz can place a tick alongside both those aspects.
King Felipe VI put a phone call through and spoke to the teenager after he won the Miami Open. It took one hour 52 minutes to overcome Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-4 and in doing so Alcaraz became the youngest man to win the Miami Open, in its 37 year history, outdoing Novak Djokovic who set the record in 2007 and he became the first Spanish man to win the title.
“So, it's pretty amazing to get the call from the Spanish king,” Alcaraz said. “I was more nervous to that call than the match. But, yeah, it's pretty amazing that the Spanish king congratulate you on the hard work that you put every day and your win. Yeah, it's something that you never thought you were gonna receive a Spanish king call. It's amazing.”
Ruud got off to a flying start. He led 3-0 and then 4-1 but in the seventh game Alcaraz stepped it up a bit and put the pressure on the Norwegian. On break point Ruud sent a forehand long and the match turned. Alcaraz won seven consecutive games.
“I think he lifted his level a little bit. In the beginning he did some sloppy mistakes that we don't see too often from him,” Ruud said. “I got an early break, a little bit not a cheap break because I made some good points, but he did some mistakes that he doesn't always do. I started off great. I was feeling good. I was getting on court confident that I would have a good start, and I did. So, everything went well in the beginning and then he raised his level. I didn't serve as well as I needed to today.
“Unfortunately, I was too low on the first-serve percentage, and that's dangerous against Alcaraz, because he returns well both first and second serves, but on the second serves he stays very, very aggressive and makes a lot of good returns. I think that kind of also changed a little bit and made it tough for me to serve out the set or keep my service and keep holding my serve and keeping the lead in the first set.”
Alcaraz was the second youngest man to reach the final, after his legendary countryman Rafa Nadal and Alcaraz marked the ninth time a Spaniard has reached the men’s final. Nadal had made it five time and it was one each for Carlos Moya, Sergi Bruguera and David Ferrer.
When he played the winning point a deft shot to an open court, Alcaraz collapsed to the court.
“It feels amazing,” he said beaming. “I mean, I'm so happy to get the title here in Miami with everyone who was supporting me. I mean, the hard work paid off, you know, and yeah, it's amazing to get my first Masters 1000. “When I win the last point, I mean, all the time that I dream of it came to my mind.
“You know, when I was younger, I dreamed to get Masters 1000. Yeah, when I fall onto the floor, I remembered that. I mean, all the dreams, all the hard work, all the training, all the troubles, everything came to my mind in that moment.”
This is the third career tour level title for Alcaraz from three finals but by far this is the biggest and most important in the Spaniard’s incredibly young career. He is the fifth man outside the top 10 to win the title.
The win has him knocking on the top10 door, he will be at a career high ranking of eleven while Ruud also moves to a new career high ranking of seven.
The doubles title went to John Isner and Hubert Hurkacz, they beat Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski 7-6, 6-4. For Isner that means he has claimed the Sunshine Double because he won the Indian Wells doubles title with Jack Sock.