Top 10 youngest world No 1s in ATP Rankings history: Carlos Alcaraz becomes first teenager to be No 1

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Carlos Alcaraz with the US Open trophy Credit: PA Images
Carlos Alcaraz with the US Open trophy Credit: PA Images

Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest player to be ranked No 1 in the world on Monday on the back of winning the US Open. But who else features in the top 10 youngest world No 1s in ATP Rankings history?

At 19 years and 129, Alcaraz set a new record as he was more than a year younger than previous record-holder Lleyton Hewitt, who first reached the top of the rankings in November 2001.

He debuts at No 1 in the list with Marcelo Rios dropping out of the top 10 as the Chilean was “only” 22 years and 94 days when he became world No 1 in March 1998.

Alcaraz’s 6–4, 2–6, 7–6 (7–1), 6–3 win over Casper Ruud at Flushing Meadows also saw him become the seventh youngest player to win a Grand Slam.

Top 10 youngest world No 1s in ATP Rankings history

10. Rafael Nadal – 22 years and 76 days (Date: August 18, 2008)

Nadal, of course, was the fifth youngest player to win a Grand Slam as he was 19 years and three days when he lifted the trophy at Roland Garros in 2005.

And it would take him another three and a bit years to reach No 1 in the ATP Rankings as he had a certain Roger Federer standing in his way.

By the time he reached No 1, he had won five Grand Slams (four French Open titles and one Wimbledon crown) and his first stint at the top lasted 46 weeks before Federer took over again.

9. Jimmy Connors – 21 years and 330 days (July 29, 1974)

American Connors hit No 1 in the rankings shortly after winning Wimbledon in 1974. It was a glorious season for the 21-year-old as he also won the Australian Open, US Open and 12 other titles.

Connors, who won eight Grand Slams during his career, stayed top for 160 consecutive weeks before Bjorn Borg took over in 1977.

8. Pete Sampras – 21 years and 243 days (April 12, 1993)

Sampras became the 11th world No 1 in ATP history and the fourth youngest when he surged to the top in April 1993 on the back of winning the Miami Open.

The American, who won his maiden major at the US Open aged 19 years and 29 days in 1992, went on to win Wimbledon and the US Open that year.

His first spell at the top was only 19 weeks, but he ultimately ended up with 286 weeks at No 1. Winning 14 Grand Slams helps quite a bit.

Pete Sampras Wimbledon Credit: PA Images
Pete Sampras Wimbledon Credit: PA Images

7. Jim Courier – 21 years and 177 days (February 10, 1992)

Just weeks after winning his second Grand Slam – the 1992 Australian Open – Courier climbed to the top as he went past Stefan Edberg. He stayed there for six weeks before the Swede reclaimed the No 1 spot.

The American, who won four majors, had another three spells at the top and ended up with 58 weeks in total at No 1.

6. Bjorn Borg – 21 years and 78 days (August 23, 1977)

The “Ice Man” was the youngest world No 1 when he reached the top in August 1977, just a few weeks after he won his fourth Grand Slam. But he was only there for one week as Connors returned to the top.

The 11-time Grand Slam winner, though, spent a total of 109 weeks at the top of the rankings over six spells with the last in August 1981.

5. Andy Roddick – 21 years and 65 days (November 3, 2003)

Roddick was the great American hope in the early noughties and he reached the pinnacle when he won the 2003 US Open, which resulted in him claiming the year-end No 1 ranking.

He stayed top for 13 weeks until February 2004 and it proved to be his only stint at No 1 as Federer dominated after that with the American finishing runner-up to the Swiss at Wimbledon in 2004, 2005 and 2009 and the US Open in 2005.

4. John McEnroe – 21 years and 16 days (March 3, 1980)

McEnroe set a new record as the youngest world No 1 when he took over from Borg in early 1980 with his move to the top coming on the back of his maiden Grand Slam at the US Open in 1979.

He was top for only three weeks, but he would alternate with Borg, Connors and Lendl over the next decade. The seven-time major champion ultimately had 14 different spells at No 1 and totalled 170 weeks.

3. Marat Safin – 20 years and 298 days (November 20, 2000)

The Russian knocked McEnroe off top spot when he climbed to the top just weeks after winning the US Open.

Safin, who also won the Australian Open in 2005, spent four weeks at No 1 before Gustavo Kuerten took over. He had two more stints at the top but only totalled nine weeks.

2. Lleyton Hewitt – 20 years and 268 days (November 19, 2001)

The Australian held top spot for more than three decades as he first ascended the throne after winning the US Open in September 2001 and he remained top until April 2003.

Hewitt also won Wimbledon in 2002 and he spent 80 weeks in total at No 1.

Lleyton Hewitt 2001 US Open champion Credit: PA Images
Lleyton Hewitt 2001 US Open champion Credit: PA Images

1. Carlos Alcaraz – 19 years and 129 days (September 11, 2022)

The man of the moment Alcaraz became the first teenager to be world No 1 in the ATP Rankings with his rise coming on the back of winning the 2022 US Open.

The Spaniard and Ruud were both in with a chance of becoming No 1, but it was the youngster who prevailed.

Alcaraz started the year at No 32 in the rankings, but he won the Rio Open, Miami Open, Barcelona Open and Madrid Open to surge into the top 10.

He also claimed a couple of runners-up finishes before winning the US Open to climb to No 1 to set yet another record in his remarkable young career.

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Top 10 youngest men’s Grand Slam winners: Carlos Alcaraz slides into top 10 after winning US Open

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