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"Rafa is one of the best players of history in tennis and now, I'm a young man too that is living his dream" - Carlos Alcaraz on being compared to Rafael Nadal

Carlos Alcaraz was asked about comparisons to Nadal in an interview after his Miami win
Carlos Alcaraz was asked about comparisons to Nadal in an interview after his Miami win
Kristina Villanueva

Carlos Alcaraz became the first Spanish man to win the Miami Open after his stirring 7-5, 6-4 victory over fellow first-time Masters 1000 finalist Casper Ruud.

He's also the youngest men's champion in the tournament and the third-youngest man to win a Masters 1000 title. This achievement, among others, has led to Alcaraz being compared to countryman Rafael Nadal.

Asked about how he felt being likened to one of the greatest players in the sport in an interview with Tennis Channel, Alcaraz said that it means that he is doing the right things.

"I always say that if they compare you with Rafa [Nadal], that means you're doing the great things, the right things, you are in the right way," said Alcaraz.
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Nadal, who also had precocious success on the tour at an early age, tried to win the Miami crown when he was 18 years and 10 months old in 2005, but fell in the final to rival Roger Federer. He, however, won his first Masters title a few weeks later in Monte-Carlo against then No. 9 Guillermo Coria.

"But I'm trying to not think about that. Rafa is Rafa, Carlos Alcaraz is Carlos Alcaraz. Rafa is one of the best players of history in tennis. And now, I'm a young man too that is living his dream," said Alcaraz.
TEENAGE DREAM πŸš€πŸ™Œ@alcarazcarlos03 wins his FIRST EVER Masters 1000 title after defeating Ruud 7-5, 6-4 at the #MiamiOpen @MiamiOpen https://t.co/Lf5YdmLxa3

The Spanish prodigy shared that 21-time Grand Slam champion Nadal is his idol and he values competing against him now.

"Rafa is my idol. I looked up to him when I was young. He inspired me a lot. When I was younger, watching his matches, his big matches. It was pretty amazing to learn from him when I was young. And to be around him now in the tour, to be able to play against him is pretty special," said Alcaraz.
Muchas felicidades Carlitos @alcarazcarlos03 por tu triunfo HISTΓ“RICO en #Miami. El primero de tantos que van a venir, seguro! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ

"My goal was to end the year in the top 15 and now I'm 11" - Carlos Alcaraz on his rapid rise

Carlos Alcaraz pumps his fist during his Miami Open final match against Casper Ruud.
Carlos Alcaraz pumps his fist during his Miami Open final match against Casper Ruud.

Just a year ago, Carlos Alcaraz was ranked No. 120. However, the Spaniard made rapid progress, reaching the third round of last year's Roland Garros as a qualifier and making the quarterfinals of the US Open. This, along with his title in Umag, pushed the youngster to No. 32 at the start of the year.

His goal was to make it to the Top 15 by the end of the year. But he is currently ranked No. 11 in the world and second in the ATP Finals Race with 1950 points, behind idol Nadal, who has 3350.

"So fast. I didn't expect that. My goal was to end the year in the top 15 and now I'm 11, close to the top 10. Going up so fast. I guess that means all the hard work I put in everyday, I'm so happy with the work with my team and everything I've done," said Alcaraz.
- Youngest Miami Open champion- First-ever Spanish champion in Miami- 3rd youngest first-time Masters 1000 champion- Maintains 100% record in ATP Finals🀩 @alcarazcarlos03 #MiamiOpen https://t.co/b2RpeSLf1K

Goal-setting seems to be Alcaraz's greatest strength – he first aimed to win an ATP 500 title and did it in Rio last February. He then targeted a Masters 1000 title, which he just won. The next goal? A Grand Slam.

"It was a goal to end the year Top 15 and be able to win ATP 500. I did that in Rio and then when I won it, I think, well, now, looking for a Masters 1000. I did it here. So hope to get the Grand Slam this year. But it's tough work for me. Now trying to go to the Top 10 or be able to classify to the ATP Finals at the end of the year," said Alcaraz.
"When I was younger, when I started playing tennis, when I was five, six years old, I wanted to be No. 1 in the world," said Alcaraz. "This year, I thought that I'd be able to beat the best players in the world and to be in the top."

Edited by Keshav Gopalan

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