Alcaraz, 19, beat Ruud, 23, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 in a match that lasted over three hours.
Alcaraz becomes the youngest Grand Slam winner in men’s singles since compatriot Rafael Nadal won the first of his major titles in June 2005.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. To be world No. 1, to be a champion,” Alcaraz said, adding that he was thinking of some of his family members who couldn’t come to watch. play him.
“I always say it’s not the time to be tired in the final round of the grand slam, you have to give everything you have inside,” he said.
Ruud said he will continue to aim for the top spot.
“Today was a special day, Carlos and I knew what we were playing for and we both knew what was at stake,” Ruud said. “I’m disappointed of course not to be No. 1, but No. 2 isn’t so bad either.”
“It’s a grand slam final, fighting for world No. 1 – something I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid,” Alcaraz told reporters early Saturday after beating Frances Tiafoe in the last four.
Throughout the US Open, the Spaniard captivated crowds with his speed, athleticism and outrageous shots. This latest victory could be the first of many Grand Slam titles during his career.
Clay-court specialist Alcaraz has drawn comparisons to 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal and is only the second Open Era player to reach the US Open final as a teenager after Pete Sampras.
“Right now you can see that all the hard work I put in every day is paying off,” Alcaraz told reporters early Saturday.