(Reuters) – Carlos Alcaraz was a picture of calm as he sealed the biggest win of his career at the Miami Open on Sunday but the teenager said his nerves were jangled by a congratulatory phone call from Spain’s King Felipe.
Alcaraz defeated Norwegian world number eight Casper Ruud 7-5 6-4 to earn his first ATP Masters 1000 crown and become the first Spanish man to triumph in Miami after eight previous final appearances by his compatriots.
“It’s pretty amazing to get the call from the Spanish king,” the 18-year-old told reporters. “I was more nervous (for) that call than the match.
“It’s pretty amazing that the Spanish king congratulates you on the hard work that you put in every day and your win. It’s something that you never thought you were going to receive.”
Victory in Miami marked Alcaraz’s third ATP Tour title following triumphs at the Rio Open in February and his win at Umag last July.
It also earned him a career-high ATP ranking of 11 and Alcaraz will be looking to break into the top 10 ahead of the French Open from May 22-June 5.
Coach Juan Carlos Ferrero said Alcaraz’s best surface is clay but the teenager said he felt comfortable on hard courts too.
“All I can say is I got two titles on clay and one on hard court. I feel very comfortable on both surfaces, so I don’t mind playing on clay or hard court,” Alcaraz said.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)