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"Hopefully he will do the same or better, but it would be nice if we left him like Carlitos" - Paula Badosa on comparisons between Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal

Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open - Day 11
Carlos Alcaraz at the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open - Day 11
Bhargav

WTA No. 3 Paula Badosa reckons her compatriot Carlos Alcaraz shouldn't be burdened with comparisons to Rafael Nadal that could hinder his development.

Alcaraz, 19, has had a blistering campaign this year. He has won 28 of his 31 matches, racking up a tour-leading four titles, including two at Masters 1000 tournaments.

During his victorious Madrid campaign a week ago, Alcaraz became the first player to beat Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches at a claycourt tournament. In the process, the ATP World No. 6 became the youngest player since Nadal (2005) to win multiple Masters 1000 titles.

19-year-old @AlcarazCarlos03 defeats World No. 1 @DjokerNole 6-7(5) 7-5 7-6(5) to become youngest men's finalist in #MMOPEN history.Alcaraz is 1st player to sweep Djokovic & @RafaelNadal at same clay-court event. He is youngest to beat Djokovic & Nadal -- regardless of setting. https://t.co/BKxwtgAt65

However, in an interview with Marca, Badosa said that Alcaraz needs to be allowed to become his own man. This, she feels, could help him turn out to be a better player than Nadal.

"He is going to be a great athlete, a new figure in our country. It is Carlos Alcaraz, and it is only going to be him, let's not try to look similar to what we have with Rafa. Hopefully he will do the same or better; it would be a joy for Spanish sport, but it would be nice if we left him like Carlitos," she said.

How do Carlos Alcaraz's achievements compare with a young Rafael Nadal's?

Carlos Alcaraz (right) beat Nadal in the Madrid quarterfinals
Carlos Alcaraz (right) beat Nadal in the Madrid quarterfinals

Carlos Alcaraz's early exploits bear a lot of similarities to Rafael Nadal's nearly two decades ago.

In 2005, Nadal produced the best ATP campaign by a teenager, going 79-10 and winning 11 titles, including four Masters 1000s and a Grand Slam. He also broke into the top 10 by triumphing in Barcelona.

Exactly 17 years later, on the very same day, Alcaraz entered the top 10 by winning his third title of the year in Barcelona. In the process, the Spaniard became the youngest player to crack the top 10 since a 18-year-old Nadal in 2005.

Two weeks later in Madrid, Alcaraz beat his illustrious compatriot for the first time in three meetings en route to winning the title. He backed that up with wins over Djokovic and Alexander Zverev to become the youngest champion in Madrid history. In the process, he also became the first player in 32 years to beat three top-five players in the same tournament.

18-year-old @AlcarazCarlos03 improves to 3-0 vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas with @BCNOpenBS QF win.By reaching #BCNOpenBS SF, Alcaraz will break into Top 10 on 25 April. He will be youngest player to enter Top 10 since @RafaelNadal, 18, on 25 April 2005 (following 1st Barcelona title).

Alcaraz's early exploits have made him one of the favorites for the Roland Garros title. After making an inspired run to the US Open quarterfinals last year, the 19-year-old could be ready to breach the bastion of 13-time winner Nadal in the French capital.


Also Check Out: Nadal French Open Titles


Edited by Nihal Taraporvala

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