The first thing Pablo Carreno Busta said when he walked up to receive the championship trophy at the Canadian Open in Montreal was “don’t wake me up if I am dreaming”.
This was no dream for the 31-year-old Spaniard, it was very much reality as he has just won the biggest title of his career.
In one hour 45 minutes Carreno Busta came from a set down to beat the favourite Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and in doing so became the first man ranked outside the top 20 (he is at 23) to win the title since 2001 when Romanian Andrei Pavel won it, also in Montreal.
“Well, finally I won a Masters 1000. It's an amazing feeling. You know I work very, very hard all my career to finally be here,” Carreno Busta said. “It was very, very tough, but I think I make an incredible week, playing really good, being very positive all the time. So very, very happy for the victory and for my level.
“It's not (my first title), but it's probably or for sure the most important. It's a Masters 1000. It's something great to win these kind of titles. Probably this year we didn't, well, make good results, but finally we can tell that we have our trophy, and it's a very, very important trophy.
Carreno Busta also became the third Spaniard to win the title joining Manuel Orantes in 1975 and Rafa Nadal in 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2018-2019.
Carreno Busta has said this year had so far been a disappointing one for him but that feeling has certainly changed winning his first Masters 1000 title in his first such final. He is also the first unseeded men’s champion since Guillermo Canas 20 years ago.
Compared to Hurkacz, Carreno Busta had a more straightforward path to the final. He had won all his matches except the semi-final against Dan Evans in straight sets. The Polish player had only played three setters and also reached the doubles semis. The night before the final his doubles semi had ended in the early hours of the morning.
“I was feeling okay. I mean, definitely it's been busy week; every day from basically 9 a.m. to, like, 10 p.m. I was working. It was a busy, busy week,” Hurkacz said. “But I gave it all I could this week. So happy with that.
“It's definitely a good week. A lot of improvements. I'll learn a lot from that week and move on to the next one. The small things makes big difference. I mean, if you're not making first serves, and Pablo played couple good returns, then you're under big pressure.”
Carreno Busta, who had never reached the final of a Masters 1000 before, became the sixth first time Masters 1000 champion is the last 13 such tournaments. He is the third this year to achieve that joining Carlos Alcaraz in Miami and Taylor Fritz in Indian Wells. The last first time Masters 1000 champion in Canada was Andy Roddick in 2003, also in Montreal.
“There was not an extra pressure,” he said. “I know it's not easy to win these kind of titles. Not everyone was a Masters 1000 on his career. For example, (David) Ferrer was No. 3 in the world and just won one. I know it's very difficult to win it.
“It wasn't extra pressure to have this title. But it's true that now I have it and I will enjoy it, no? I will try to continue, no, not being focused just on the trophies, more on enjoy the moments, enjoy my game, enjoy the tournaments, the life in general.
“I know in this moment of my career with 31 years old, I just need to enjoy, no? Probably I have few more years, I don't know, three, four, five, six, hope to be more but we don't know, so I have to enjoy a lot.”