Carlos Alcaraz's rapid growth on the tour in recent years has earned him plenty of comparisons with Rafael Nadal, his fellow countryman. But Alcaraz recently claimed he doesn't pay heed to such comparisons, because he doesn't want to put additional pressure on his shoulders.
At 17 years of age, Carlos Alcaraz is already ranked No. 133 on the ATP tour. He recently registered the biggest ATP win of his career, beating former top 10 player David Goffin at the Adelaide International.
Given that Rafael Nadal also made giant strides during his late teen years, many believe that Carlos Alcaraz could follow in the Mallorcan’s footsteps. But in a recent interview with Marca, the 17-year-old revealed that he prefers to block out the comparison talks and instead divert his attention to developing himself.
"I don't pay any attention to people who have high expectations of me, who say that I'm going to be the next Nadal," Alcaraz said. "I try to stay out of that kind of comment. I focus on myself, my work, and my team."
Training with Rafael Nadal was an unforgettable, unique experience: Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz got the opportunity to train with Rafael Nadal ahead of this year’s Australian Open. Recalling that moment, Alcaraz revealed that training with Nadal was extra special because the Mallorcan also happens to be his idol.
"All players are good at training, but it is always more special to do it with your idol, which in my case is Rafa (Nadal)," Alcaraz said. "It was an unforgettable, unique experience that I will always keep."
When asked if he would like to trade hits with Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz replied in the affirmative. The teenager added that there are 'many more' players on his list with whom he would like to practice.
"I miss him (Novak Djokovic) and many more that I am also excited to play with," Alcaraz said.
Carlos Alcaraz had recently taken on Alexander Zverev at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. Even though the teenager ended up on the losing side, he left a lasting impression on Zverev.
After the match, the German claimed that Alcaraz would make his way to the top 10 by 2024. He also predicted that the two would enjoy a rivalry akin to the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal duel in the coming years.
On being asked about Zverev's lavish praise, Alcaraz called it a "great compliment." The teenager then explained that recognition from players of Zverev’s stature proves that he is on the right path in his career.
"That the best in the world say these things about you, it is a great compliment," Alcaraz said. "That the players who are at the highest and that I have seen on TV see me as a rival means that I am doing things well."