Tennis: Alcaraz, 18, becomes youngest player in ATP's top 10 since Nadal

Carlos Alcaraz climbed two places to ninth in the world after his victory in the Barcelona Open final on April 24, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

(AFP, REUTERS) - Spain's Carlos Alcaraz, 18, on Monday (April 25) became the youngest player to enter the top 10 of the ATP world ranking since his compatriot Rafael Nadal did so at the same age in 2005.

Alcaraz climbed two places to ninth in the world after his straight-set victory over Pablo Carreno Busta in the Barcelona Open final on Sunday (April 24), while Britain's Cameron Norrie dropped out of the top 10 to No. 11.

It was the third title of the season for Alcaraz, having won the Miami Masters at the beginning of the month and the Rio tournament in February. His list of victories also includes his breakthrough at Umag, Croatia, last July, when he became the youngest tour-level champion since Kei Nishikori claimed the title at Delray Beach in 2008.

Carreno Busta swops places with another Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the former climbing to 18 and the latter moving down one spot to 19th.

Novak Djokovic still sits atop the standings despite losing to Russian Andrey Rublev in the Belgrade Open final. World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev is out with a hernia problem.

In winning the Barcelona Open, Alcaraz, who reached last year's US Open quarter-finals, joins countrymen including Nadal, coach Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya as champions of the ATP 500 claycourt tournament.

"It means a lot. I've watched this tournament since I was a kid. I always wished to play in this tournament and of course be able to win this tournament," Alcaraz said. "I'm really happy to be part of the (historic) Spanish list."

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