Carlos Alcaraz plans Eiffel Tower tattoo after French Open triumph eclipses Rafael Nadal feat

There has long been an inevitability to Carlos Alcaraz winning the French Open, earmarked in his teen years as Rafael Nadal’s heir apparent.

In what was his fourth time in the main draw, the 21-year-old finally lived up to that expectation and eclipsed Nadal in the process as the youngest player to have won Grand Slams on three different surfaces.

Nadal was 22 when he pulled off the feat, which has been achieved by only seven men in the history of tennis.

Having previously won the US Open and Wimbledon, for Alcaraz Grand Slam No3 was arguably the most important, an event he used to run back from school to watch on television, revelling in the Spanish successes, notably those of Nadal.

It seems a lifetime ago that Nadal bowed out of this tournament in the opening round to Alexander Zverev, who pushed Alcaraz for five tight sets come the final.

“Winning a Grand Slam is always special,” said the Spaniard, following his title triumph. “Winning your first in every Grand Slam is always super special but, at Roland Garros, knowing all the Spanish players who have won this tournament and being able to put my name on that amazing list is something unbelievable.

“It is something that I dreamed about, being in this position, since I started playing tennis, since I was five, six years old, so it’s a great, great feeling.”

A man for all surfaces: Carlos Alcaraz has now won Grand Slams on clay, hard and grass courts (AP)
A man for all surfaces: Carlos Alcaraz has now won Grand Slams on clay, hard and grass courts (AP)

There were echoes to Nadal in Alcaraz’s own tournament build-up, struggling with an injury to his forearm which had curtailed him to just two clay-court tournaments in the weeks before Paris.

But despite needing medical assistance during the final, his body held together well enough for a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

“I said before the tournament that I consider myself a player who doesn’t need too many matches on my back just to get at 100 per cent,” he said.

“I had a really good week in Paris, practising with good players. I felt really well playing sets, moving, hitting my shots before the tournament began. Obviously, every match that I have played, I was getting better and better.”

Alcaraz already has an established way to celebrate his Grand Slam triumphs. After winning the US Open, he had the date of that win tattooed on his arm.

After beating Novak Djokovic in an epic Wimbledon final last summer, his body ink of choice was a strawberry on his right ankle — and he already knows the tattoo selection to remember this French Open.

“It will be on the left ankle — the Eiffel Tower and today’s date,” he said. “It’s going to be on the left ankle.

It will be on the left ankle — the Eiffel Tower and today’s date

Carlos Alcaraz plans new tattoo to mark French Open triumph

“Wimbledon was the right one. Here is going to be the left one, I think so, with the Eiffel Tower and the date of today. I don’t know if [I’ll get it done] next week or take a month or two, but I will do it. I have to find time, but I will do it, for sure.”

For Zverev, it was a second Grand Slam final defeat, with much of his tournament overshadowed by a court case of alleged domestic abuse by an ex-girlfriend, which the German has always denied and which ended with an out-of-court settlement last week.

Zverev was left to rue an umpire error which he felt could have changed the course of the match. An Alcaraz second serve was called out at 2-1 and 15-40 in the fifth set but was overruled by the umpire. Hawk-Eye, not available to officials, showed it was, in fact, out.

Zverev said: “I break back there, I have break chances, and then in the next service, the fifth set can go the other way. But it is what it is. He played fantastic, he played better than me in the fourth and fifth sets.”