Carlos Alcaraz won the men's singles tennis championship in the French Open yesterday. The 21-year-old Spaniard defeated Sascha Zverev of Germany in five sets. The match went on for four and a half hours in a steady breeze under a beautiful late-spring blue sky.

As I suspected might happen, Zverev went up to 2 sets to 1, but Carlitos poured it on in the final two sets to pull out the win. The later it gets, the better he plays, especially from behind.

In the early going, the men traded lopsided set wins, Alcaraz taking the first and then Zverev the second. In the third, the Spanish man child faltered, making a lot of mistakes on the way to a 5-7 loss. But early in the fourth, he hit one breathtaking shot after another, sucking the wind out of the sails of the S.S. Sascha. The set went 6-1 for Alcaraz, with Zverev's body language taking a turn for the worse.

In the final, deciding set, with the shadow of the stands creeping across the court, both men were tight, but they battled royally. There was a standing ovation after one spectacular rally. But Carlos once again drew from an astounding array of shots, several of which had his lanky opponent looking up at his coach with an expression of disbelief. As spirited as the play was, the result was pretty straightforward. Alcaraz grabbed an early break of service, refused to give it back, and broke again to make it 5-2. The last game was a mere formality.

Zverev burned some energy jawing with the umpire a couple of times, which probably didn't help him. The French insist on calling the lines the 19th Century way, with human beings saying where they saw the ball land, and verifying their calls by looking at marks in the dirt. It would be a great relief if they followed nearly everyone else's lead and let the cameras and computers make those calls, but hey, it's France, don't hold your breath.

In the end, Alcaraz won the equivalent, in Euros, of about $2.6 million; Zverev, who has never won a major tournament, had to settle for half that. The top two women singles finishers, Iga Swiatek of Poland and Jasmine Paolini of Italy, won the same prizes as their male counterparts.

In the women's doubles, Coco Gauff of the United States and her partner, Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, won the top trophy. That's worth $640,000 to split between them.

Alcaraz has also won the U.S. Open (in '22) and Wimbledon (in '23). He's the youngest man ever to win majors on a hard court, grass, and now clay. The only person to do it at a younger age, and not by much, was Serena Williams. Is Carlos going to have a career like hers? From all appearances, he is.

Au revoir to Roland Garros. The tennis scene's about to change from red dirt to green grass. Wimbledon starts three weeks from today.


  1. Watched the last three sets at a courtyard pub in Tarragona with a posse of loud, spirited Spaniards cheering Carlos to victory. Great fun.

    1. Wow, no kidding. Nice going.

    2. Was a good time. Got to Barcelona this afternoon. Here for a week but Bruce has a 6/12 show in Madrid. Spanish flights are cheap and I’ll likely pull the trigger and do a little scalping.:)


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