APRIL 22 - MAY 5, 2024

Alcaraz earns a place at the table with Madrid’s best

From Carlitos to Carlos. Or Charlie, as he is known affectionately by his team. When Alcaraz turned 20 on Friday, he was asked in a press conference whether he felt like an adult or still feels like a boy. “I’d like to be a teenager a little longer, you know, for the stats”, joked the Spaniard.

Those stats put the double Mutua Madrid Open champion (2022 and 23) among the tournament’s greats. First, Alcaraz has joined the other five players with more than one title from the Masters 1000 in the Caja Mágica. He is preceded by Rafa Nadal (5), Roger Federer and  Novak Djokovic (3), as well as Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev (2).

The man from Murcia also becomes just the second ATP player to defend the title. Nadal managed to reclaim his title from 2013, when he beat Swiss player Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4 in the final, with another victory in 2014 against Japanese player Kei Nishikori (2-6, 6-4, 3-0 ret.). Alcaraz will now have a chance to string together three finals, as the Mallorcan did in 2015, when Murray prevented him from claiming his hat-trick.

The five-time Madrid champion started his reign in 2005, when the tournament was still played on the indoor hard court of the Madrid Arena, coming back against Croatian player Ivan Ljubicic (3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6[3]). Once it had moved to clay, Nadal won in 2010 (6-4, 7-6[5] vs. Federer), at the aforementioned 2013 and 2014 events, and finally in 2017 (7-6[8], 6-4).

Second on the list are Federer and Djokovic with three titles apiece. The Swiss claimed his first crown at the MMOPEN’s original venue in Casa de Campo, on indoor hard court in 2006 (7-5, 6-1, 6-0 vs. Fernando González).

In the Caja Mágica the Basel native claimed the title in 2009 (6-4, 6-4 vs Nadal) and in 2012 (3-6, 7-5, 7-5 vs. Tomas Berdych). All of the Serb’s three triumphs have come on clay. The man from Belgrade opened his account in 2011 (7-5, 6-4 vs Nadal), 2016 (6-2, 3-6, 6-3 vs. Murray) and 2019 (6-3, 6-4 vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas).

Alcaraz, with a one-hundred percent record in finals in the Spanish capital, now shares a place on the podium with Murray and Zverev. It was against the German that he first inscribed his name on the trophy (6-3, 6-1) and he has now done the same against his compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff (6-4, 3-6, 6-3).

The Briton has one Madrid title to his name from indoor hardcourt in 2008 (6-4, 7-6[6] vs. Gilles Simon) and another on clay in 2015 (6-3, 6-2 vs. Nadal). For his part, Zverev won in 2018 against Austrian player Dominic Thiem, 6-4, 6-4 and in 2021 against the Italian Matteo Berrettini (6-7[8], 6-4, 6-3).