Carlos Alcaraz becomes youngest year-end No. 1 in men’s tennis as Rafael Nadal’s slump continues at ATP Finals
Carlos Alcaraz beats Rafael Nadal 11-9, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3
Nadal finishes second to Alcaraz on year-end rankings after playing just four tournaments
Rafael Nadal was playing just four tournaments in 2017, and it was the last that he could still play.
Nadal fell out of the top five at Flushing Meadows this month, and in the last two weeks he has dropped out of the top 10 as well.
The Spaniard’s recent form at the ATP Finals began with surprising wins over Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic, and it took a shock defeat against No. 1 Roberto Bautista Agut to bring his season to an end.
The final two tournaments of the season were Nadal’s last chance to play on the biggest stage, and the ATP’s Player of the Year was once again beaten, this time by Denis Istomin in Indian Wells.
He has now won two tournaments but has not won a tournament for six years. That long slump could lead to early retirement, or it could be the start of a real renaissance that will lead him towards retirement in 12 months’ time.
Carlos Alcaraz won twice in 2017, and has also reached the semifinals of Indian Wells and Miami. In 2017, he also became the first Spaniard to enter the top 10 without winning a tournament since the year 2000.
He won his last four tournaments of the season, but ended the season by finishing No. 2 in the year-end rankings, behind Rafael Nadal.
In addition, he had to finish the season as No. 2 after losing to the Spaniard in Miami, and he faced fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the last quarterfinal of the year.
The 2017 season saw the emergence of many Spanish players, including Alcaraz, Javier Martínez and Pablo Cuevas, and their rise in the rankings has come as the rest of the world’s best players continue to