After the end of defending champion and world number one Daniil Medvedev before the gates of the quarterfinals, it was clear that the men’s ranking will have a new ruler after the New York Grand Slam.
In addition to the legendary Nadal, Norway’s Casper Ruud and Alcaraz can also take the lead. Both would taste ruling the world rankings for the first time in their careers.
The 19-year-old Spaniard is considered by many to be the favorite to win this year’s last Grand Slam. Nick Kyrgios, who said goodbye to the US Open in the quarterfinals, addressed Alcaraz with similar words.
“It’s crazy that Kyrgios sees me as the favorite,” laughed the Spaniard.
“Obviously I don’t want any pressure on me. That’s why I’m not too concerned with the results or the world ranking,” he explained.
Carlos Alcaraz after winning the round of 16 at the US Open.
But what does the ranking math currently say?
Alcaraz’s position as number one will be ensured by the promotion to the final itself, if Ruud does not make it, who has already taken the first important step by defeating Italo Berrettini and securing participation in the semi-finals.
In the same way, a Norwegian can sit on the throne if he reaches the final and the Spaniard does not. If the two meet in the fight for the title, the Arthur Ashe court will also decide the new leader of the world ranking.
If neither of them makes it to the finals, Nadal, who was eliminated in the round of 16 by the American Francis Tiafoe, will become number one.
New Nadal? No, still just a boy
Alcaraz will play in the quarterfinals for the second time in a row in New York. Although he did not go on to win any Grand Slams, as the third seed he entered the matches from the start of the tournament as a favorite.
He doesn’t worry too much about expectations. “I’m still the same guy, I’m just playing against the best in the most prestigious tournaments. I really enjoy these moments,” he described.
And in addition, he is constantly being compared to the star Nadal.
“Of course, such comparisons put pressure on me, but I try not to think about it. I don’t see myself as someone’s successor. I’m more concerned with the present, not whether I’ll be the star of the next generation,” he said.
After drawing the spider, he dreamed of a semi-final at the US Open with the iconic compatriot. “It would be wonderful to meet Rafa there.”
However, Nadal’s end brings him an unprecedented opportunity for his first Grand Slam triumph, and the still nineteen-year-old Alcaraz can become the youngest ever leader of the men’s ranking, which has been compiled regularly since 1973.
“I think Carlos can continue his performances and not get carried away,” predicts Eurosport expert Mats Wilander.
Will the Spaniard manage to take the next step and advance to the semi-finals over Italian Sinner, with whom he will face on Thursday night Czech time?