AP – Teenager Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest year-end number one in the history of the ATP computerised rankings and joins fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal as the first players from the same country to claim the top two spots at the close of a season since Americans Pete Sampras and Michael Chang in 1996.
The final men’s tennis rankings for 2022 were published on Monday, and Alcaraz’s rise from number 32 at the end of 2021 is the largest single-season jump to number one.
Iga Swiatek finished the year with a substantial lead in the final WTA rankings, which were released last month. The 21-year-old from Poland moved up from number two in April to lead the list for the first time after Ash Barty suddenly retired.
Swiatek never relinquished her hold, helped by earning major championships at the French Open and US Open. Ons Jabeur – the runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open – closed the season at a career-best number two.
Alcaraz, who turned 19 in May, has remained atop the rankings since he won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in September by beating Casper Ruud in the final.
That made Alcaraz the first male teen at number one since the ATP computerised rankings began in 1973.
He is the first man in 20 years other than Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray – since Andy Roddick in 2003 – to finish at number one.
Alcaraz ended his season early after tearing an abdominal muscle while competing at the Paris Masters a month ago.
The 36-year-old Nadal, meanwhile, is the oldest man to finish a year ranked first or second.
He also extended his own record by placing in the top 10 at the end of a year for the 18th consecutive season.
The recently retired Federer is the only other man with that many top-10 finishes over the course of a career.
Nadal won the Australian Open and French Open to raise his men’s-record Grand Slam total to 22 trophies, one ahead of Djokovic and two ahead of Federer.