While Carlos Alcaraz will be ranked World No. 9 on his 19th birthday, where were the Big-3?
Carlos Alcaraz broke into the top-10 of the ATP rankings this week, thanks to his title run at the 2022 Barcelona Open. The teenager defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets in the final to notch up his third title of the year and his fourth ever title on the men’s tour.
By doing so, Alcaraz became the youngest player to crack the top-10 since compatriot Rafael Nadal did so back in 2005. The Mallorcan was only a month younger than Alcaraz at the time of the achievement — 18 years and 10 months. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, were more than 19 years of age by the time they reached the single digits.
With Carlos Alcaraz’s 19th birthday coming up on May 5, it will mean that he will be ranked World No. 9 when he celebrates the occasion in the midst of the Madrid Masters. This begs the question, where were the Big-3 ranked at the same age?
Rafael Nadal is the only one among the Big-3 who had a better rank than Carlos Alcaraz on his 19th birthday
Rafael Nadal was ranked World No. 5 on his 19th birthday, 4 spots better than Carlos Alcaraz
Rafael Nadal was ranked World No. 5 on his 19th birthday (3 June 2005), mainly thanks to his title runs at the Monte-Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open and Rome Masters in the lead up to Roland Garros. Interestingly, he broke into the top 10 on the same day as Carlos Alcaraz, 17 years apart.
On the exact day of his birthday, the 21-time Grand Slam champion defeated Roger Federer in the semifinals of the French Open. Two days later, he bested Mariano Puerta in the final to bring up his first Grand Slam title.
A year later, on his 20th birthday, Nadal rose to World No. 2 — a position he held on to until his 21st birthday. Finally, in 2008 at the age of 22 years and two months, he ascended to the top of the ATP rankings for the first time ever.
Roger Federer was yet to win his first ATP Tour title on his 19th birthday
Roger Federer was ranked World No. 39 on his 19th birthday, 30 spots lower than Carlos Alcaraz
Roger Federer was ranked World No. 39 on his 19th birthday (8 August 2000), and had reached the third round of the Australian Open and fourth round of Roland Garros that year.
Unlike Carlos Alcaraz, the Swiss was yet to win his first ATP Tour title at the time. The closest he had come was at the 2000 Marseille Open, losing to Marc Rosset in the final. The 20-time Grand Slam champion had to wait three more years to win his first Grand Slam title — the 2003 Wimbledon Championships.
The former World No. 1 was ranked World No. 14 on his 20th birthday as well as his 21st birthday. In 2004, at the age of 22 years and five months, Federer finally ascended to the top of the ATP rankings for the first time ever.
Novak Djokovic was yet to enter the Top-50 on his 19th bithday
Novak Djokovic was ranked World No. 63 on his 19th birthday, 54 spots lower than Carlos Alcaraz
Novak Djokovic was ranked World No. 63 on his 19th birthday (22 May 2006), and had already played five Grand Slams at that point with third-round finishes at the 2005 Wimbledon and US Open.
Following a quarterfinal run at the 2006 French Open, the Serb broke into the top 50. The 20-time Grand Slam champion won his first ATP Tour title that year as well, beating Nicolas Massu in the final of the Dutch Open.
The Serb broke into the top-10 before his 20th birthday, rising to World No. 6 on 22 May 2007. On his 21st birthday, Djokovic was ranked World No. 3 and had already won his first Grand Slam at the 2008 Australian Open. Finally, in 2011 at the age of 24 years and one month, he ascended to the top of the ATP rankings for the first time ever.