Stefanos Tsitsipas has likened Carlos Alcaraz to Rafael Nadal days after the teenager’s coach slammed comparisons between the two. The Greek star said the US Open champion was like the “next Nadal” despite Juan Carlos Ferrero revealing that the label had weighed “super heavy” on his charge.
Alcaraz has long been compared to Nadal, with the pair showing similarities as Spaniards with explosive games. The 19-year-old has also mirrored his countryman’s career at times – winning last year’s Barcelona Open and breaking into the top 10 on the same day that Nadal did the same in 2005.
The eight-time title winner was also the first teenage Grand Slam champion since Nadal 17 years ago, picking up last year’s US Open crown while the 22-time Major winner claimed the 2005 French Open at the age of 19. But Alcaraz’s coach recently slammed comparisons between the pair and said they had taken a toll on the current world No 2.
Despite Ferrero’s recent comments, Tsitsipas has become the latest player to label Alcaraz as the “next Nadal” as the Spaniard prepares to defend his Barcelona Open title this week. This also marks the second year in a row that Nadal himself has missed the ATP 500 event due to injury.
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“He definitely offers a lot to our sport,” Tsitsipas said of the 36-year-old in his absence. “And when he’s around, you can feel his presence and his energy and how hard he works for every point. And his spirit, the spirit that he puts out on the court is an example.”
The 24-year-old then went on to claim that Alcaraz would be able to carry the torch from Nadal, adding: “We have someone that looks a little bit like him, which is Carlos Alcaraz, in terms of how he gets to every ball on the court and how he covers pretty much half of the planet when he plays.
“So they have a lot of similarities, and I think he could be the next Rafael Nadal of our tennis.” But Alcaraz’s coach won’t be happy with the world No 5 after slating the comparisons between the pair earlier this month.
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While Ferrero admitted that Alcaraz took elements from Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, he said it “wasn’t easy” on either of them to hear the labels and expectations. “I don’t like to compare him to the others,” the former world No 1 told Tennis Majors.
“You can say that you need to take the best examples available to add things to your game, absolutely. Federer’s movement, Nadal’s mentality and so on. We do try to take details from players when we think they are super good, to add them to our game.
“But you know, Carlos had to hear in the past that he was the new Nadal, etc… It was super heavy on his back. In a sense we were so proud, yes, that people think that, but it was not easy for him and me to hear that all the time.”
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