Carlos Alcaraz sets Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic aim after US Open win

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Carlos Alcaraz has admitted he wants to emulate Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic by winning more Grand Slam titles going forward. The 19-year-old claimed the first major of his career on Sunday, beating Casper Ruud 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium to claim the US Open title. Now, with the Spaniard securing the world No 1 spot, the sky is the limit…

Alcaraz has etched his name into the history books with his win over Ruud, with the Spaniard becoming the youngest ever tennis player to reach No 1 in the world.

It was a blistering display from the teenager, who was too strong for Ruud under the flashing lights on Flushing Meadows.

And Alcaraz, speaking after his triumph, has now admitted he’s hoping to emulate Federer, Nadal and Djokovic by staying at the top for many years to come.

“It’s incredible to be the youngest No 1 ever,” he said.

“But it’s much tougher what the Big Three is doing: stay on top for 20 years. That’s what I’m looking for.

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“I don’t want to compare myself to them, but I wanna be like them.”

Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, insisted after his pupil’s US Open win that he was only operating at 60 per cent of his true potential.

“As I tell him, I think he’s on 60 per cent of his game,” said the former tennis star. “He can improve a lot of things. He knows and I know that we have to keep working.

“Once you get to the No 1, it’s not done. You have to keep working, keep playing at a huge level on that tournaments to keep winning.

“He knows that and I know that. I’m going to be very close to him to remind him.”

And Alcaraz agrees with Ferrero, admitting he needs to improve ‘mentally and physically’ to ensure he wins more Grand Slams in the coming years ahead.

“I agree with Juan Carlos. I’m at 60 per cent of my potential. There are a lot of things to improve,” said the teenager.

“Nadal, Djokovic and Federer improved a lot of things over the years. I have to improve mentally and physically. The tennis too. I can stay in my comfort zone.”

Alcaraz paid tribute to his fans after the match in the United States, recognising he was pushed all the way as he secured a maiden Grand Slam crown of his career.

“It means a lot to me to have a lot of people supporting me here in New York. What I lived last year was incredible,” said the 19-year-old.

“But this year was unscriptable. As I said, there were a lot of tough moments for me, tough matches.

“They were there all the time believing in me, supporting me. I finish the match against Jannik at almost 3am and they were there supporting me until the last ball.

“I could say this trophy is for them, as well. It’s thanks to them.

“Maybe if I hadn’t them supporting me all the time, I couldn’t have this trophy today.

“To think that I’m able to win these matches, to overcome these tough moments, for me, is crazy to know that I have a lot of people supporting me around the world.”

As for Ruud, the Norwegian could have been forgiven for feeling devastated after seeing his hopes of a first Grand Slam title ruthlessly ended.

Yet he paid tribute to his opponent, tipping him for a bright future while also insisting Alcaraz was heading in the ‘right direction’.

“It’s incredibly impressive what he has achieved already as a teenager. It’s sometimes hard to believe he’s only teenager,” the Norwegian said.

“He’s one of these few rare talents that comes up every now and then in sports. That’s what it seems like.

“Let’s see how his career develops, but it’s going all in the right direction.”

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