Carlos Alcaraz (ATP 1) remains deaf to comparisons between him and his compatriot, the Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal (ATP 2). “There’s no point in comparing,” says Alcaraz.
The 19-year-old Spaniard is officially the youngest tennis player in history to finish the year as number one in the ATP ranking, after a brilliant season. He won two Master tournaments and in September his first Grand Slam, the US Open. Alcaraz was unable to participate in the ATP Finals due to an abdominal injury. Only Nadal could knock him off that first place in the world, but he was already eliminated in the group stage in Turin.
Some compare Alcaraz to Nadal, who won Roland Garros in 2005 at the age of 19. In the meantime, Nadal is one of the most successful tennis players of all time.
However, Alcaraz does not listen to that. He himself expresses his admiration for what the 36-year-old Nadal has achieved in his career. “There is no point in comparing,” Alcaraz told journalists. “It doesn’t matter that I’m number one in the world now. Rafa’s whole career counts for a lot. It is a pleasure for every tennis fan to see Rafa on the square.”
He added that he hopes to achieve “at least half” of what Nadal has done, in a career spanning more than 20 years with 22 Grand Slams.
Alcaraz is now trying to gain strength again for the new season. “The season will be difficult because I will start as the favourite,” he explained. “There will be a lot of pressure on me. But I’m trying to keep up with the good and make sure this doesn’t go to my head. In the end, beating your idols is an incredible feat. I try to take this normally and never forget that whatever happens in the future, I have to enjoy tennis and play at my level.”