Carlos Alcaraz achieves impressive Slam feat quicker than Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
As the 31st seed at the 2022 Australian Open, Carlos Alcaraz is seeded at a Major tournament younger than Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic first were in their careers.
Spanish prospect Alcaraz is just 18 years and eight months old at this year’s Australian Open.
All three of 20-time Grand Slam champions Djokovic, Federer and Nadal were older than Alcaraz when they were first seeded at a Major.
Nadal was the youngest of the ‘Big Three’ when he was seeded fourth at the 2005 French Open when he was 18 years and 11 months old.
Next was world number one Djokovic who was 19 years and three months old when he was seeded 20th at the 2006 US Open.
Lastly, Federer was 19 years and 10 months old when he was seeded 15th at the Wimbledon in 2001.
Alcaraz’s precociousness means he is also the youngest player in 32 years to be seeded at a Major, since Michael Chang was seeded 11th at the 1990 US Open when he was 18 years and six months old.
Seven-time Slam champion Boris Becker was just 18 years and three days old when he was seeded fourth at the 1985 Australian Open, months after his famous maiden Wimbledon triumph as a 17-year-old.
The future looks bright for Alcaraz as all Open Era players who have been younger than him when they played their first Grand Slam as a seeded player broke into the top 15 of the ATP Rankings at some point in their careers.
As a result of his spectacular breakthrough season, Alcaraz was nominated for the Most Improved Player for the 2021 ATP Awards.
He rose a total of 109 ranking positions, from 141st to 32nd, over the course of the year, the highest climb by an ATP player in 2021.
When asked about being a seed, Alcaraz said: “Being seeded is always good.
“In the early rounds, you kind of avoid meeting the top players, that’s a small advantage that is always welcome. And I think I’ve earned the position.
“I like being established on tour, when players know you’re there and see you as a close rival.
“Last year was a great year for me, when I consolidated myself as one of the best on tour.
“I’m almost in the top 30, and it’s very good when other players are getting to know you, and that they have a bit more respect for you.”
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