Rising star Carlos Alcaraz recently spoke in glowing terms about the mental prowess of compatriot Rafael Nadal, claiming that his never-say-die attitude serves as an inspiration for many. The youngster also declared that Nadal is his 'idol' due to the unrelenting focus he brings to the court every single time.
Carlos Alcaraz's performances on the Future and Challenger circuits have caused many to tout him as the next big thing in tennis. The 17-year-old also recently qualified for his first-ever Grand Slam, the upcoming Australian Open.
Since Carlos Alcaraz is from Spain, many have also labeled him as the next Rafael Nadal. However, both Alcaraz and his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero believe that the teenager's game is more like that of Roger Federer than like Nadal's.
During a recent interview, however, Carlos Alcaraz admitted that Rafael Nadal is his foremost role model. The 17-year-old explained that Nadal's refusal to give up makes him someone who can be looked up to across all spheres.
"Rafa is my idol," Alcaraz said. "His hunger, his attitude. It doesn't matter if he plays a first match or a final, his level of concentration is the same. He wants to win every match."
"His mentality is an example for anyone, a tennis player or any person," he added. "He motivates everyone because he never surrenders. Everyone wants to be the best, no matter if you're an athlete, a football player, a doctor, a journalist everyone has an objective in life."
What makes Rafael Nadal such a relentless competitor?
While Rafael Nadal's game can send shivers down the spine of any opponent, his mental strength gives him even more of an edge against other top players like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Even when Nadal is not in the best shape physically, he still chases the ball to all parts of the court and returns it with interest. The Spaniard fights for every point as if it were his last, regardless of the player on the other side of the net.
When it comes to his game, Rafael Nadal primarily focuses on what he does best - unleashing those big, loopy forehands while producing impossible angles with his backhand. The World No. 2 knows how to play to his strengths, and when exactly to pull the trigger in rallies.
But what makes Nadal so feared, at times even more than Djokovic or Federer, is his sheer self-belief. The Mallorcan knows he can always run those extra yards and summon that extra bit of power to make the opponent hit an extra shot, which is often enough to tilt the scales in his favor.