"The post-Nadal stage will be difficult, Rafa's shadow covers a lot" - David Ferrer

David Ferrer (L) has said that the post-Nadal stage will be difficult for Spanish tennis
David Ferrer (L) has said that the post-Nadal stage will be difficult for Spanish tennis
Neelabhra Roy

Former World No. 3 David Ferrer feels Spanish tennis will not be the same after Rafael Nadal retires. But the Spaniard reckons the emergence of young players like Carlos Alcaraz will soften the blow of the 21-time Slam champion's eventual departure.

While the Barcelona Open director feels Carlos Alcaraz could become a benchmark for Spanish tennis, he refused to compare the teenager to Nadal.

"The post-Nadal stage will be difficult," David Ferrer said. "Rafa's shadow covers a lot. There will be no other player like him. But we are lucky. We have Carlos Alcaraz who is going to be a benchmark for Spanish tennis. But I don't like to compare him to Rafa because he is unique and different. He is special."

"I am very happy to have players like Stefanos Tsitsipas" - David Ferrer

Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top seed at the Barcelona Open
Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top seed at the Barcelona Open

Rafael Nadal won last year's Barcelona Open but will not defend his title in 2022 due to a stress fracture in his ribs that he sustained during his Indian Wells semifinal against Alcaraz.

Reigning Barcelona Open champion Rafael Nadal has been forced to withdraw from this year’s tournament because of an injury.#rafaelnadal #tennis #barcelonaopen…

Despite Nadal not competing, David Ferrer said that he was happy to have players like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz in the draw.

"I am very happy to have players like Tsitsipas who made the final with Rafa last year and was about to win Roland Garros, he is a very charismatic player," Ferrer said. "Then we have new top 10 like Casper Ruud, who played the Masters last year and is very good on clay. From there I want to name Roberto Bautista, Pablo Carreño and of course Carlos Alcaraz, this year's revelation, a young player with a great future and who will be a benchmark for Spanish tennis after Rafa."
The Barcelona Open draw pits Alcaraz and Tsitsipas in a potential QF... ADF gets a qualifier first then Tiafoe. Robredo gets a qualifier then Carreno Busta.

Tsitsipas will be a heavy favorite to win the Barcelona Open this year, especially after successfully defending his title at the Monte-Carlo Masters last week. The Greek has received a bye into the second round, where he will take on either Pedro Martinez or Ilya Ivashka.

Apart from Tsitsipas, there are a few players who are capable of challenging for the title. Casper Ruud, who finished as the runner-up in Miami, has produced some brilliant performances on clay in the past. Carlos Alcaraz is also one of the favorites, having already won titles in Miami and Rio de Janeiro this season.

The Spaniard could face Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open if both reach that stage.

The likes of Diego Schwartzman, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime should not be ruled out either.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee


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