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Alcaraz crowned French Open 2024 champion: 'King of Clay' Nadal, Real Madrid and others congratulate Spaniard

Carlos Alcaraz secured the 2024 French Open men’s singles title on Sunday at Roland Garros after defeating Alexander Zverev in the championship showdown.

tennis Alcaraz crowned French Open 2024 champion: 'King of Clay' Nadal, Real Madrid and others congratulate Spaniard snt
First Published Jun 9, 2024, 11:43 PM IST

Carlos Alcaraz secured the 2024 French Open men’s singles title on Sunday at Roland Garros after defeating Alexander Zverev in the championship showdown. In a thrilling contest, the Spaniard claimed a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory over the German in the final of the prestigious clay court event in Paris.

At just 21 years old, the Spaniard, Alcaraz, who grew up admiring compatriot Rafael Nadal's dominance at Roland Garros with a record 14 titles, has now surpassed Nadal to become the youngest man to win major championships on three different surfaces. Nadal achieved this feat at around a year and a half older than Alcaraz.

Also read: Alcaraz beats Zverev to clinch maiden French Open title; ends Nadal-Djokovic's 9-year reign at Roland Garros

Sunday's triumph, where he rallied from a two-sets-to-one deficit, similar to his semifinal match against Jannik Sinner on Friday, allowed Alcaraz to add the Roland Garros clay-court championship to his previous victories on hard courts at the US Open in 2022 and on grass at Wimbledon in 2023.

Following this win, 'King of Clay' Nadal took to X, formerly Twitter to congratulate his compatriot. "Congratulations @carlosalcaraz for this immense victory!!!! Big!!!! Very happy for your successes!!! 🇪🇸 #Vamos," wrote the Spanish legend, who was knocked out in the first round of this year's tournament by Zverev.

15-time Champions League winner Real Madrid too congratulated Alcaraz on his maiden French Open crown. "Congratulations on your first @rolandgarros title, @carlosalcaraz! Madridistas are very proud of your third Grand Slam. We enjoyed your wonderful tennis today. Magnificent! Congratulations!"

In addition to his three Grand Slam triumphs, Alcaraz has claimed 11 ATP Tour titles. In 2022, he made history as the youngest player to attain the No. 1 spot in the PIF ATP Rankings. While his performance against Zverev may not have consistently showcased the dazzling tennis that propelled him to these milestones, Alcaraz demonstrated clinical precision under pressure. This enabled him to surpass the German and preserve his flawless record in Grand Slam finals.

Both Alcaraz and Zverev employed varied tactics to unsettle each other, but it was Alcaraz's knack for delivering crucial points at pivotal moments that proved decisive. The Spaniard capitalized on nine of the 16 break points he earned, as per Infosys Stats, whereas Zverev managed to convert only six of his 23 opportunities.

A critical juncture arose in the deciding set when Alcaraz served at 2-1, 15/40. Initially, his second serve was called out, but after the chair umpire inspected the mark, it was ruled in. This turn of events saw Alcaraz avoid a potential double fault and instead hold serve, solidifying his early break in the fifth set.

Alcaraz, now boasting a remarkable 52-10 record in Grand Slam matches, joins the esteemed ranks of Spanish players who have lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires. Notably, among them is his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, who claimed victory at the Paris major in 2003.

Throughout the match, both Alcaraz and Zverev faced significant physical challenges. Zverev, ranked No. 4 in the PIF ATP Rankings, had endured a grueling journey to the final, spending a total of 19 hours and 27 minutes on court, marking the longest route to a Roland Garros final since match times were recorded in 1991. Despite this, even in defeat, Zverev often appeared to be the more physically resilient of the two. Meanwhile, Alcaraz resorted to drinking pickle juice during changeovers to prevent cramping and received treatment for his thigh when trailing 4-1 in the fourth set.

Alcaraz seized the opening set by capitalizing on his returns after a cautious start where both players lost their opening service game. Zverev encountered a shaky start to his second major final, serving consecutive double faults and subsequently needing to switch his racket. Despite his efforts, Zverev was broken three times in the first set and had to fend off two break points to hold in another service game at 2-4.

Despite the setback, Zverev remained focused, and an improved serving performance in the second set allowed him to stem Alcaraz's momentum on return. The German's first serve percentage increased to 83%, winning 80% of those points, according to Infosys Stats.

Zverev continued to dominate, winning five consecutive games to claim the second set and then securing another five straight games to snatch the third. Although Alcaraz had served for the set at 5-2, he soon found himself trailing two sets to one as Zverev hit a hot streak.

Undeterred by his opponent's lead, Alcaraz remained composed. He swiftly gained momentum in the fourth set by winning the first four games and saved all five break points he faced in the decider to secure victory.

Here's a look at some of the reactions following Alcaraz's French Open 2024 win:

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