Carlos Alcaraz has drawn many comparisons with Rafael Nadal over the last few months, and the Spaniard himself has made no secret of the fact that the 21-time Grand Slam champion is his idol time and again.
In early 2016, the World No. 6 dueled it out in U-14 stage of the Rafa Nadal Tour for junior players in Spain. During the tournament, Alcaraz went on the record in a video saying that he wanted to follow in the Mallorcan's footsteps.
The Spaniard, then 13-years-old, remarked that he wanted to model himself on the former World No. 1 because of his fighting spirit and hard work. He further added that his ultimate goal was to break into the top-10, a feat he achieved when he won the 2022 Barcelona Open crown against Pablo Carreno Busta in the final.
"I want to be in the top-10, but you need to work for it. My idol's Rafa. I want to be like [Rafael Nadal] because he practices very hard and gives his all in matches and I want to be like him," Alcaraz said.
Carlos Alcaraz overtakes Rafael Nadal, rest of the field on match wins and titles this season
Since considering Rafael Nadal his idol six years ago, Carlos Alcaraz has developed into a player who can go toe-to-toe against the 35-year-old. At the recently concluded Madrid Open, the teenager shocked Nadal in the quarterfinals by pulling off an incredible win in three sets.
The World No. 6 then went on to beat Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, thereby writing himself into the record books as the only ever player to beat both Nadal and Djokovic in the same clay tournament. Alcaraz defeated Alexander Zverev in the final to become the youngest champion in the history of the Madrid Open.
The Spaniard has now won four titles this year, one more than Nadal and Andrey Rublev. He has also won 28 matches this season, the most by any player on the ATP Tour. Stefanos Tsitsipas follows with 27 wins, while Rublev has 25 wins. The World No. 4, on the other hand, has 22 victories to his name.
Furthermore, Carlos Alcaraz also has the most top-10 wins so far this season, with a win/loss record of 8-2. The only two players who have managed to beat the teenage sensation are Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open and the 21-time Grand Slam champion at the Indian Wells Masters.