US Open: Alcaraz 'a little bit' tired after marathon efforts rewarded with place in history

By Sports Desk September 11, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz was determined fatigue would not get the better of his US Open title tilt, but he accepted he was "a little bit" tired after defeating Casper Ruud in Sunday's final.

Alcaraz set a grand slam record for the most time spent on court at a single tournament, in large part due to playing five-set matches in the fourth round, quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Still, the 19-year-old had enough energy left to take down Ruud in four sets, with his 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 victory making him a first-time major champion and the new world number one.

Asked if he would now acknowledge the effects of this run on him, Alcaraz replied: "A little bit.

"I always say it's not time to be tired in the final round of a grand slam or any tournament; you have to give everything on court, everything you have inside. It's something I work really, really hard on."

Alcaraz is the youngest player to ever sit atop the men's rankings, and he added: "This is something I dreamt of since I was a kid, to be number one in the world, to be a champion of a grand slam.

"It's something I worked really, really hard for. It's tough to talk right now. There's a lot of emotions right now.

"This is something I tried to achieve. All the hard work I did with my team, my family... I'm just 19 years old, so all the tough decisions are with my parents, my team as well. This is something that is really, really special for me."

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    After a 15-month maternity break, the four-time major winner marked her return to the French capital with a hard-earned three-set victory over Lucia Bronzetti in the opening round.

    That potentially sets up a meeting with Swiatek in round two, should the reigning champion overcome Leolia Jeanjean on Monday.

    And Osaka is thrilled by the prospect of facing the world number one, who has lifted Coupe Suzanne Lenglen three times in the past four years. 

    "I'm really excited," she told reporters during her post-match press conference. 

    "I watched her a lot when I was pregnant. I think it's an honour to play her in the French Open, because she's won more than once here. It's a very big honour and challenge for me."

    After beating Bronzetti 6-1 4-6 7-5, Osaka (75.3 per cent, 58-19) now only trails Swiatek (81.4 per cent, 70-16) among active players, for the highest winning percentage in women’s singles matches at major events.

    The Japanese was made to work hard for her victory. After a dominant opening set, Osaka was taken to a decider, in which she was pegged back from 4-0 up, but eventually got over the line.

    "The match really was like a rollercoaster," she added. "I felt like I was extremely focused in the first set, and maybe I let it go a bit.

    "I came back in the third, but then I let it go a bit, and I just got really tight from there. I'm really glad I was able to regroup and win."

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