ATP

Alcaraz insists Nadal 'not my enemy' as pair battle for world number one

By Sports Desk October 31, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz views fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal as another competitor and "not my enemy", despite the pair's battle for top spot in the world rankings.

The 19-year-old continues to break records at the top table in tennis, becoming the first teenager to be crowned world number one in the Open Era.

Alcaraz, aged just 19 years and 129 days, also set a new benchmark as the youngest number-one ranked male player in the world since rankings were published in 1973.

Those feats came after winning September's US Open, where he joined Arthur Ashe (1968) and Rod Laver (1969) as the only Open Era players to win on their first or second main-draw outing at the tournament.

Now, Alcaraz has Nadal – a record 22-time major winner – chasing him for top spot, though the youngster assures there will never be bad blood between himself and his compatriot.

"I don't see it that way," Alcaraz responded to Eurosport when asked if he was embroiled in a battle with Nadal.

"It's true, Rafa is fighting for the No.1. Some players have the same goal – to be No.1, so I need to do my best. Outside the court [Rafa and I] are colleagues, at least it's the way I see it.

"Rafa is not my enemy. I say hello, I don't see that competition. With the rest of the players, it's the same. Beyond that relationship, I'll try to keep being No.1."

 

While Alcaraz remains the world's top-ranked male player, he intends to savour the moment after a surreal victory at the US Open.

"It is an incredible feeling, waking up as No.1, the US Open winner. It's a dream come true," he added.

"I am enjoying this moment so far. I keep working, my life is still the same, I'm still the same kid, same player. I just keep practising, keep improving."

As the teen aims to relish topping the ranks, his next focus turns to the Paris Masters – where he faces Yoshihito Nishioka on Wednesday – with a knee injury not as serious as first thought.

"It's a little pain, but the calendar is very demanding," he said of the injury. "We are playing and travelling with barely any breaks and it's normal that we have a few pains.

"All players have them and we learn how to deal with them. I am feeling good physically and I am ready to play here in Paris and in Turin in the [ATP] Finals."

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