Carlos Alcaraz Outlasts Alexander Zverev to Win History-Making French Open Title

Carlos Alcaraz is celebrating a historic win at the French Open.

The 21-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Alexander Zverev in five sets to capture the title at Roland Garros on Sunday to become the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all three surfaces.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz and Zverev battled for 4 hours, 19 minutes, but Alcaraz came through 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.

His 2024 French Open title sits alongside his triumphs at the 2022 US Open and at last year’s Wimbledon.

“Winning a Grand Slam is always special,” Alcaraz said afterward. “Winning your first in every Grand Slam is always super special.

“But in Roland Garros, knowing all the Spanish players who have won this tournament and be able to put my name on that amazing list is something unbelievable. Something that I dream about being in this position since I was started playing tennis, since I was 5, 6 years old.”

Carlos AlcarazThe triumph secures Alcaraz’s spot in tennis history, as he becomes the seventh player to win a Slam event on all three surfaces — following in the footsteps of Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander, Andre AgassiRoger FedererRafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But he’s the youngest to achieve the feat, having turned 21 in May.

Nadal completed his trio at 22 years, 7 months when he won the 2009 Australian Open.

Alcaraz said the French Open meant the most to him, given that he came into the competition with injury concerns.

“Probably this one is the moment that I’m really proud about myself, because everything that I have done the last month just to be ready for this tournament with my team, a lot of talks with them,” Alcaraz said. “So I’m going to say this one is the most that I am proud about myself.”

It was Zverev’s second Grand Slam final, but he has now lost both in five sets, having fallen in the 2020 US Open final to Dominic Thiem.

“It is what it is,” Zverev said. “Look, he played fantastic. He played better than me the fourth and fifth set. It’s how it is. I felt like this Grand Slam final I did everything I could. At the US Open I kind of gave it away myself. It’s a bit different.”

Alcaraz, meanwhile, became the first man at the French Open to win five-set matches in both the semifinal and final since Rod Laver in 1962 — and just the eighth to do it in any Grand Slam event since the Open era began in 1968.

Alcaraz came into this event managing an arm injury that had forced him to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open. He lost in Madrid to Andrey Rublev and withdrew from Rome with the same injury. So he had only four matches on clay coming into the tournament, but he came through the opening rounds in confident form despite saying he was unable to hit his forehand at full power. He dispatched J.J. WolfJesper De Jong, Seb Korda, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to a semifinal with incumbent world No.1 Jannik Sinner, but Alcaraz came through 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Zverev won the Italian Open and then opened his Roland Garros campaign by defeating 14-time champion Nadal in the first round. He then got past David GoffinTallon GriekspoorHolger Rune, Alex de Minaur and Casper Ruud to book his spot in the final.

Alcaraz started Sunday’s match as the better of the two players, taking the first set 6-1. He was then up a break in the second, only for Zverev to win the next five games. The same thing happened in the third set, with Alcaraz up 5-2, only to lose 7-5.

Alcaraz had treatment on his left leg during the break, and continued to have physio work at changeovers.

“It was something that I started to feel in the semifinal,” Alcaraz said. “Playing five sets, it’s demanding. After the match you’re going to feel something. If not, you’re not human.”

After taking the fourth set 6-1, Alcaraz started the fifth in the ascendancy and went up a break, but Zverev threatened to break back.

Down 2-1, Zverev had two break points, and thought he’d won the game when Alcaraz double-faulted at 15-40. The ball was called out, only for umpire Renaud Lichtenstein to overrule that and deem it in, meaning the point would be replayed.

Zverev claimed later that he’d seen footage showing that the ball was in fact out.

“I mean, look, there’s a difference whether you’re down 3-1 in the fifth set or you’re back to 2-all. That’s a deciding difference,” Zverev said afterward. “Yeah, it’s frustrating in the end, but it is what it is. Umpires make mistakes. They’re also human, and that’s OK. But of course, in a situation like that, you wish there wouldn’t be mistakes.”

From there, Alcaraz saved four break points in that game and went on to close out the fifth set to secure the title and improve his record to 11-1 in five-set matches.

“I know that when I’m playing a fifth set, you have to give everything, you have to give your heart,” Alcaraz said. “In those moments, it’s where the top players give their best tennis. I want to be one of the best tennis players in the world, so have to give my extra in those moments and show the opponent I’m fresh — like I’m playing in the first game of a match.”

Alcaraz now plans to get a tattoo of Sunday’s date — June 9, 2024 — to go with the dates from his other two Grand Slams.

“I will do it for sure,” said Alcaraz, whose US Open tattoo is on the back of his neck. “[This tattoo] will be on the left ankle, Wimbledon was on the right one, this will be on the left one, with the date of today. It’s something I’m going to do. I don’t know if it’ll take a month, or two months, but I’ll do it.

“I just want to keep going, and let’s see how many Grand Slams I’m going to take at the end of my career. Hopefully reach the 24, but right now I’m going to enjoy my third one, and let’s see in the future.”

Carlos Alcaraz Outlasts Karen Khachanov to Reach Madrid Open Semifinals

Carlos Alcaraz is playing on at the Madrid Open

The 19-year-old Spanish tennis player and defending champion overcame a tough test from Karen Khachanov on Wednesday, rallying late in the second set for a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 win that set up a semifinal against Borna Coric.

Carlos AlcarazIt was Alcaraz’s 150th tour-level match, and his 117th victory to leave him with a winning percentage (78%) currently better than the likes of Pete Sampras, Boris Becker and Andre Agassi.

“My dream in tennis right now is to become one of the best tennis players in history,” Alcaraz said. “I know that this is a big dream, (it) probably is too big. But in this world, you have to dream big and you have to think big, as well. I want to be part of the the best tennis players in history. And I will work for it.”

Alcaraz was down 4-1 and 5-2 in the final set before winning the final five games to secure his fourth straight-set victory in Madrid.

The top-seeded Spaniard improved to 27-2 this year, having dropped only one set in his last 19 victories. He will be playing in his third Masters 1000 semifinals of the season.

“I knew I had to keep fighting no matter what,” Alcaraz said. “I had to stay strong because I knew that I would have my opportunities, and gladly I took advantage of the first one that I had to close out the match.”

Alcaraz converted on his first match point after the 10th-seeded Khachanov had taken control of the second set with an early break. The Russian had two break opportunities to go up 5-1 before Alcaraz rallied for the victory. The Spaniard, who finished with 31 winners, had converted on his first break opportunity to go up 4-3 and win the first set.

Alcaraz had cruised past last year’s runner-up Alexander Zverev in the previous round, while Khachanov – a semifinalist at the Australian Open this year and at the U.S. Open last year – had beaten fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev.

Alcaraz is trying to become the first player this season to win two Masters 1000 titles, after having already lifted the trophy in Indian Wells. He successfully defended his title in Barcelona and also won in Buenos Aires.

If Alcaraz wins the title again in Madrid, he will regain the No. 1 spot in the world rankings if he plays at least one match in Rome.

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Carlos Alcaraz to Improve to 20-0 in 2022

Rafael Nadal remains undefeated…

The 35-year-old Spanish tennis star outlasted Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Saturday night to reach the BNP Paribas Open final and improve to 20-0 this year.

Rafael NadalThe 21-time major champion threw his head back, smiled and raised both arms in triumph after escaping an aggressive Alcaraz.

The 18-year-old never appeared rattled playing his vaunted countryman, who had the crowd, a 17-year advantage in age and loads of experience in his favor.

“He has all the ingredients to become an amazing champion,” Nadal said. “I don’t have many doubts that he will be great. He is already, by the way.”

Nadal’s perfect record is the third-best start to a season since 1990. He’s won titles at Melbourne, the Australian Open and Acapulco.

Nadal staved off three break points on his serve in the fifth game of the third set and then broke Alcaraz with a forehand volley winner to go up 5-3. Nadal served out the match with a love game, punctuating the 3-hour, 12-minute struggle with a 95 mph ace.

“Rafa has thousand lives,” Alcaraz said. “If he’s down, he’s able to play at a great level in the tough moments.”

Alcaraz hit 39 winners to 20 for Nadal. The teen saved 15 of the 20 break points he faced through the first two sets, but couldn’t stop the net-rushing Nadal who broke him to go up 4-3.

That’s when Nadal called for a trainer, who appeared to give the soon-to-be 36-year-old star an adjustment. Nadal said he was feeling pain in his left chest.

Ranked 19th in the world, Alcaraz outdueled Nadal in a second set that featured five service breaks, including four in a row.

Tied 4-all, Alcaraz broke Nadal in a game that lasted 19 minutes, 42 seconds. Nadal’s errant forehand gave Alcaraz the advantage on the seventh break point of the game. The teenager tossed up a topspin lob near the baseline that Nadal could not catch up to and Alcaraz led 5-4. He served out the set, 6-4.

“If you are playing with Rafa, you have to be calm, you have to think well in the tough moments,” Alcaraz said. “That’s what I learned in this match.”

Alcaraz got Nadal’s attention from the start, breaking him in the first game of the match. The teen survived a six-deuce game on his serve to go up 2-0. Alcaraz was gutsy throughout, charging the net on break points and often coming up with winners.

“I feel like I’m part of that level. I am part of these kind of players,” Alcaraz said. “I think I’m going to play against Rafa or the best players this year a lot.”

As the match went on, the wind grew so strong it blew the players’ white towels nearly onto the court and rattled Nadal’s perfectly aligned drink bottles that he set facing the court. Ball kids chased items that weren’t anchored down. Nadal said his eyes hurt because of sand stirred up by the wind.

Nadal will meet Taylor Fritz in the final Sunday. Seeded 20th, Fritz is the first American man to make the final since John Isner in 2012 and he’ll try to be the first to win the title since Andre Agassi in 2001.

Fritz ended No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev‘s 13-match winning streak with a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the other semifinal. The Russian had won 13 consecutive matches since February 14, including back-to-back titles at Marseille and Dubai.

Rafael Nadal Claims 5th Rogers Cup Title

Rafael Nadal’s Cup runneth over…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star claimed his fifth Rogers Cup title after beating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-0 on in just 70 minutes Sunday at breezy IGA Stadium.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal won the event for the third time in Montreal. The first came in 2005 at age 19 over Andre Agassi, and the second in 2013. Nadal won in Toronto in 2008 and 2018.

“I played a solid match, my best match of the week so far without a doubt,” Nadal said. “I did a lot of things well — changing directions, changing rhythms.”

The second-rankedtenistawon his 83rd singles title and third of the year, following clay victories in Rome and at the French Open. He extended his tour record for Masters 1000titles to 35, two more than top-ranked Novak Djokovic.

“He was playing very well during the whole week. So for me, it was important in the beginning that he doesn’t take advantage, because finals are always a little bit more difficult for everyone,” Nadal said. “I’ve played a lot of these. I know beginnings can be tricky, especially against a great player like him, but especially when a player like him is playing with a lot of confidence like he was playing during the whole week.”

Medvedev, from Russia, was seeded eighth. The match was his first against Nadal.

“I knew how it’s going to be,” Medvedev said. “I was kind of ready for it. Then didn’t manage to probably show my best tennis, but at the same time, Rafa was incredible today. I need to see the match on the TV to say for sure, but congrats to him. I need to do better next time.”

Nadal had a walkover in the semifinals Saturday when Gael Monfilswithdrew because of an ankle injury.

Bruguera & Andre Agassi to Face Off in Rematch of 1996 Atlanta Games Final

Sergi Bruguera is getting a chance at a little Olympic payback…

The 45-year-old Spanish retired professional tennis player will face Andre Agassi in a special exhibition match as part of the Atlanta Open on July 31, providing a rematch of the 1996 Summer Olympics gold medal final in Atlanta.

Sergi Bruguera

The exhibition will be played as Atlanta marks the 20-year anniversary of the Olympic Games.

Agassi, who celebrated his 46th birthday on Friday, is an eight-time Grand Slam singles champion who defeated Bruguera for the 1996 gold medal.

Sergi Bruguera, Andre Agassi & Leander Paes

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Bruguera, a two-time French Open champion, won 14 career titles and reached No. 3 in the world rankings.

As of 2014, he has won the most Grand Slam titles for someone not elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Agassi said the exhibition is a chance “to re-live a special Olympic moment.”

Bündchen to Appear as Part of Under Armour’s New Women’s Campaign

Gisele Bündchen is breaking out her armour

The 34-year-old Brazilian supermodel has signed on to be part of Under Armour’s new women’s campaign.

Gisele Bundchen

Bündchen, the world’s top-earning model in 2014, has reportedly agreed to a multiyear deal, according to ESPN.com. Financial terms were not disclosed.

On Tuesday, the shoe and apparel brand posted a teaser video on YouTube featuring Bündchen, who is married to New England Patriots‘ star quarterback Tom Brady.

In the video, she’s seen wearing the brand’s gear and heading into an empty loft with a heavy bag hanging from the ceiling. It ends with the promise of more to come about the relationship Thursday.

In 2010, Brady joined Under Armour, receiving an undisclosed piece of the company for his endorsement. Although Brady has been selective with his endorsements, landing Bündchen might have been harder.

Last month, Forbes magazine said she was the highest-earning model in the world for the eighth year in a row, pulling in an estimated $47 million. In comparison, Brady received a $30 million signing bonus for a restructured and extended deal he signed last year with the Patriots, and he has a $2 million base salary for this upcoming season.

Bündchen will be part of Under Armour’s women’s campaign, which kicked off last month with the signing of ballerina Misty Copeland, another nontraditional endorsement deal for the brand. The Copeland spot, featuring her against-all-odds story, has garnered more than 5.8 million views on YouTube.

The campaign, with its I Will What I Want slogan, also includes skier Lindsey Vonn, soccer player Kelley O’Hara and tennis player Sloane Stephens.

Under Armour’s women’s business registers about $500 million in sales and makes up roughly 30 percent of the company’s overall apparel sales annually.

The husband-wife team of Brady and Bündchen is perhaps the highest-profile to align with a sports brand since Andre Agassi left Nike in 2005 to join Adidas, the brand endorsed by his wife, Steffi Graf. Agassi went back to Nike last year.

Nadal to Participate in the Inaugural Edition of the International Premier Tennis League

Rafael Nadal is preparing to join a league of champions in Asia…

The 27-year-old Spanish tennis star has signed up to participate in the inaugural edition of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Serena Williams are all confirmed for the exhibition league that begins in late November in Asia.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Li Na are not set to take part in the IPTL.

Indian doubles specialist, Mahesh Bhupathi, came up with the idea for the league, which will hope to be as successful as cricket’s Indian Premier League.

Tennis legends’ surprising comebacks

“The IPTL is the first-of-its-kind Asian tennis league with a unique concept bringing together the best tennis players from across the world on the same platform,” the IPTL said in a news release.

 

The format sees five teams, based in Mumbai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and a yet to be confirmed city, play home and away matches. The matches are best-of-five sets but incorporate different sets — men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles and legends.

The official players list includes Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras in the legends category.

Questions still remain about how many matches the top players will play and how players will manage their schedules leading into January’s Australian Open.

Over the years, players have complained about how long the tennis season lasts — between 10 and 11 months — and the IPTL is scheduled to run from November 28 to December 20.

Ferrer Defeats Rafael Nadal to Reach Paris Masters Final

He may be Spain’s No. 2 player, but David Ferrer played like the country’s No. 1 to defeat his compatriot…

The 31-year-old Spanish tenista upset world No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Saturday to reach the Paris Masters.

David Ferrer

Defending champion Ferrer, who won his only Masters title here last year, dominated his fellow Spaniard 6-3, 7-5 to set up the championship decider on Sunday against Novak Djokovic, who came back to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 against the 2011 Paris champion Roger Federer.

Nadal was bidding to become the first player since Andre Agassi in 1999 to win both the French Open and Paris Masters in the same season but again came up short at a tournament where he last played in 2009.

Nadal hit an uncharacteristic 25 unforced errors and converted just one break point in seven attempts as Ferrer defeated his rival for only the fifth time in 21 meetings.

The world number four received plenty of support from the Paris crowd and carved out the decisive break to go 6-5 in the second set before serving out for the match.

“It was definitely the best match I’ve played all week and I was fighting for every ball but I’m really pleased because I played my best tennis,” said Ferrer.

”Now, I’m going to try and recover and play a strong match tomorrow (Sunday) but I love it here and I have great memories,” added the man who defeated Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz in last year’s final.