Q3 Review: Alcaraz, Djokovic, Kyrgios Make Headlines
The third quarter of the 2022 ATP Tour season saw the rise of the youngest-ever World No. 1, a familiar face lifting the Wimbledon trophy, and a pair of first-time ATP Masters 1000 champions.
An action-packed grass-court season witnessed Matteo Berrettini and Nick Kyrgios deliver a host of standout performances, but it ended with Novak Djokovic clinching his fourth consecutive title at the grass-court major. The switch to the North American hard courts in August saw Pablo Carreno Busta and Borna Coric claim their maiden ATP Masters 1000 titles, before Carlos Alcaraz lifted his first Grand Slam crown in style at the US Open in September to reach top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
ATPTour.com reflects on all that and more from a thrilling few months on the ATP Tour.
Alcaraz On Top Of The World
Despite his promising fourth-round run at Wimbledon being ended by his #NextGenATP rival Jannik Sinner, Alcaraz cracked the Grand Slam code in dramatic style at the US Open, where the 19-year-old lifted his first major title after a high-stakes championship match showdown against Casper Ruud.
With the winner in New York set to claim both their maiden Grand Slam title and the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time, it was the #NextGenATP Spaniard who ultimately prevailed. Alcaraz powered to victory in four sets despite having spent 20 hours and 19 minutes on court across six matches at Flushing Meadows en route to the final.
“It is something I have dreamt of since I was a kid,” said Alcaraz. “To be No. 1 in the world, to be champion of a Grand Slam, is something I have worked really, really hard [for].”
Living The Dream: How Carlos Alcaraz Hit No. 1 At 19
Alcaraz had already confirmed his qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time by reaching the quarter-finals in New York. He now leads the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin from his countryman Rafael Nadal, who became the first player to qualify for November’s season finale with his second-round win at Flushing Meadows.
Despite his championship match disappointment, Ruud looked back fondly on his fortnight in New York, which lifts him to a career-high No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “I’m very proud of being No. 2,” said the Norwegian. “In a way it’s a good thing, because I can still chase the last spot.”
Seventh Heaven For Novak At SW19
Novak Djokovic made his move in the Grand Slam titles race by charging to his 22nd major title at Wimbledon in early July, just one shy of Nadal’s record. The Serbian saw off Sinner, Cameron Norrie and Kyrgios en route to his fourth consecutive triumph in London, where he now holds an 86-10 match record.
The seven-time year-end No. 1’s run in London was not without its tense moments, not least when he trailed Sinner by two sets before completing an inspired comeback win in the quarter-finals. The 35-year-old’s seventh title at SW19 moves him within one of Roger Federer’s record, and Djokovic appeared eager for more after defeating Kyrgios in four sets in the final. “Every single time it gets more meaningful and more special,” he said. “So I’m very blessed and very thankful to be standing here with the trophy.”
Novak Djokovic celebrates his comeback win against Jannik Sinner at Wimbledon. Photo Credit: Sebastien Bozon/Getty Images
Berrettini Finds Grass-Court Groove
Another man who enjoyed the grass in 2022 was Berrettini, who returned in style on the surface in June having not played for three months due to a hand injury. The Italian defeated Andy Murray to triumph at the BOSS OPEN in Stuttgart, before successfully defending his Cinch Championships title at the Queen’s Club in London a week later, his seventh tour-level crown.
Despite frustratingly being forced to miss Wimbledon due to Covid-19, Berrettini can look back fondly on a grass season during which he won all nine of his matches to improve his career record on the surface to 32-6, a showing that put any doubts surrounding his injury recovery to bed. “I arrived in Stuttgart and was not feeling great,” said Berrettini, looking back after lifting the trophy in London. “I was not hitting the ball how I wanted and I was like ‘Guys, I think it is going to be tough’. But it has gone pretty well!”
Red-Hot Kyrgios Doubles Up In D.C.
A grass season full of promising performances from Kyrgios culminated in the Australian reaching his maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, although he ultimately fell short in his attempts to stop Djokovic charging to his seventh crown at SW19.
Kyrgios immediately bounced back from that disappointment when his North American hard-court season began in August at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. The show-stopping Australian claimed his seventh ATP Tour title with victory in the U.S. capital, where he also lifted the doubles crown alongside Jack Sock. “It’s just very emotional for me,” said Kyrgios after his singles win. “To see where I was at last year to now, it’s just an incredible transformation. I just came out with great energy.”
Victories over then-World No.1 Daniil Medvedev in both Montreal and at the US Open were also highlights of an impressive stretch for the 27-year-old Kyrgios, who went 26-7 across the grass and North American hard-courts to rise to No. 20 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, having been No. 78 at the start of June.
Carreno Busta Masters Montreal
Carreno Busta’s frank description of 2022 as ‘one of the worst years’ of his career may have required some reassessment from the Spaniard after he strung together an inspired series of performances to claim his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Montreal.
Berrettini, Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz were among those swept aside by the 31-year-old on the Canadian hard courts in August. “It’s an amazing feeling to be a Masters 1000 winner,” said Carreno Busta after he defeated Hurkacz in three sets in the final. “It’s the best title of my career for sure and I don’t know how I’m feeling in this moment.”
Coric Born-a Again In Cincinnati
It was a long and painful road to his third ATP Tour title for former World No. 12 Coric. The Croatian underwent shoulder surgery in May 2021 and entered the draw at this year’s Western & Southern Open in August with a protected ranking after missing the majority of last season for his recovery.
One week later and Coric was an ATP Masters 1000 champion, having stormed to the title in Cincinnati for the loss of just one set. The 25-year-old defeated Nadal, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Norrie en route to the final, where he completed an emotional championship match victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas. It was a first tour-level title since 2018 for Coric, who revealed he now has to dedicate an extra 30 to 90 minutes a day to prepare his shoulder for the rigours of life on Tour.
Kohlschreiber, Querrey, Soares Wave Goodbye
Eight-time Tour titlist Philipp Kohlschreiber brought his 20-year career to a close after failing to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon in June. “The funny thing is, I really didn’t plan to announce it… I didn’t plan to go to Wimbledon and say maybe, maybe not,” said the German, who reached a career-high No. 16 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2012 and was a constant presence in the Top 100 between March 2006 and February 2021. “It was just that day I felt, ‘OK, it’s time.’”
Former World No. 11 Sam Querrey also retired after falling in the first round at the US Open. The big-serving American lifted 10 tour-level singles trophies and notched an impressive 23 wins against Top 10 opponents during his career. “I was a pretty good big-match player,” said Querrey, whose last match was against Ilya Ivashka in New York. “I feel like the better the opponent, the better I played, and [I] had some great wins.”
An illustrious doubles career also ended at Flushing Meadows, where six-time Grand Slam champion Bruno Soares announced the tournament would be his last on Tour. A hugely popular figure with fans and fellow players alike, the Brazilian won 545 tour-level matches and finished 2016 as one half of the year-end No. 1 doubles team, alongside Jamie Murray.
Ram/Salisbury Take Hard-Court Honours
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury found their form on the North American hard courts to confirm their status as one of the game’s pre-eminent duos. American Ram and Briton Salisbury lifted their third ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Cincinnati in August before repeating the feat at the US Open, where they were the defending champions.
Those successes saw Ram and Salisbury qualify for November’s Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year. The duo they defeated in the US Open championship match, Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings leaders and Montreal champions Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, had already become the first team to secure its spot at the season-ending showpiece with its first-round win in New York.