Carlos Alcaraz says he is “not afraid” as he prepares to compete for the US Open championship and make history by becoming the youngest man to hold the top ranking on Sunday.

The winner-takes-all final pits the 19-year-old Spaniard against Casper Ruud, with both players vying for their first Slam victory and the top spot.

Also read: US Open 2022: Casper Ruud vs Carlos Alcaraz final to script history regardless of result

Since fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal won the French Open in 2005, Alcaraz is the youngest to reach the final of a Slam and declared, “I’m not afraid of the moment.”

Alcaraz has thrived in his role as champion-in-waiting in a competition where Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer failed to make the start and four-time champion Nadal lost in the last-16 round.

He overcame three consecutive five-setter matches thanks to his mesmerising shotmaking and flamboyance, and made it to the final. In those three marathons, he played on the court for more than 13 hours.

Also read: US Open 2022 final: Casper Ruud vs Carlos Alcaraz head-to-head, other stats

He survived a match point against Jannik Sinner in a five-hours and fifteen-minute quarterfinal that ended at 2:50 am on Thursday.

In the fourth-longest match of the competition, he then needed four match points to defeat Frances Tiafoe in Friday’s semifinal.  In 2022, it was Alcaraz’s 50th victory.

Alcaraz is certain that he will win his first Slam championship as a result of his recent successes.

Alcaraz, the youngest finalist at New York since Pete Sampras in 1990, said, “I’ve prepared myself mentally and physically to be fighting for the big things on Sunday.”

Also read: US Open 2022: Carlos Alcaraz or Casper Ruud? The race for World No. 1

“I always dreamed of being No 1,” he added.

Ruud, who lost to Nadal in the French Open final in June, will compete in his second Slam final and has a 2-0 winning record over Alcaraz.

At the Miami final in March, one of those wins occurred on hard courts. It was one of Alcaraz’s four titles in 2022 so far.

Alcaraz has won both previous encounters in straight sets.

Alcaraz, whose coach Juan Carlos Ferrero climbed to the No. 1 place after he made the 2003 New York final, said, “I am just going for it and I’ll enjoy the moment.”

Also read: Casper Ruud-Carlos Alcaraz contest challenges established tennis order

Meanwhile, Ruud, whose fourth-round victory over Tommy Paul lasted four hours and 23 minutes, won’t be scared to battle it out over five sets on Sunday.

If the 23-year-old becomes the first Norwegian man to win a Grand Slam championship on Sunday, he will move up to the top spot.

However, Ruud has been criticised for being a one-surface expert because eight of his nine career victories have come on clay.

His three victories in 2022 came on clay in Buenos Aires, Geneva, and Gstaad.