Alcaraz gets more unwanted comparisons as new Nadal points raised

Carlos Alcaraz has been likened to the Big Three yet again, despite his coach revealing that the comparisons weighed “super heavy” on the teenager. Alcaraz’s next opponent Alejandro Davidovich Fokina claimed that playing the world No 2 was like playing Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Meanwhile, renowned coach Patrick Mouratoglou made a new point about how Alcaraz’s game was more complete.

Alcaraz’s coach has previously hit out at the constant comparisons between his charge and fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal, telling Tennis Majors: “Carlos had to hear in the past that he was the new Nadal, etc… It was super heavy on his back.” But it hasn’t stopped more players from making the same claims, including Stefanos Tsitsipas and now Davidovich Fokina.

The Spaniard will face Alcaraz for the first time at the Barcelona Open on Friday and admitted that he had to approach the match in the same way he would approach a clash with the likes of Djokovic and Nadal. “It’s like you have to play against the ‘Big Three,’” the world No 38 said,

“It has been shown that Carlos is at the level he wants and it is a matter of being focused on each point and not having a long-term vision, but rather going to each point, playing and enjoying because in the end, you have trained all this time to enjoy Godo’s centre-back.”

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And Davidovich Fokina does have experience of playing and beating one of the members of the Big Three – upsetting Djokovic in Monte Carlo last year before reaching his maiden Masters final. “It’s a game that gave me a lot of confidence and I know where I can go,” the 23-year-old said of his win over the Serb.

“Few people reach the final of a Masters 1000. That is what I have to stay with. If I’m focused and I play what I want, I can play good tennis and I’m very hard to beat.” But Alcaraz will be more than capable of the test Davidovich Fokina proves, as Patrick Mouratoglou also made a comparison with Nadal.

The former coach of Serena Williams raised a new point about the similarities between Alcaraz and Nadal, claiming that the 19-year-old was actually more advanced than the 22-time Major champion was at his age. “I think Carlos Alcaraz is an all-court player, I don’t think he is a clay-court player,” the Frenchman said.

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“Rafa is more of a clay-court player. He’s an all-court player [now], but he has learned to be good on other surfaces, but originally, he was really a clay court player, which is not the case for Carlos.” Mouratoglou still thought that Alcaraz had extra weapons on clay, but had been impressed by his ability across all three surfaces.

“I think he’s an all-court player from the start. He’s as good on hard as on clay, maybe I would give him a little more advantage on clay than hard because he has some weapons that are deadly on clay,” he explained. “The drop shot, and he’s a master in drop shots.

“His kick serve which is one of the best, if not the best, on tour. And his forehand. And of course, he’s an incredible mover. When you put all of this together, I think it gives him even an extra edge on clay compared to hard court.” And Alcaraz will be hoping to use all of those weapons against his countryman in their Barcelona quarter-final.

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