ATP

Alcaraz: 'No point in comparing' Nadal and myself

By Sports Desk November 22, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz turns a "deaf ear" to comparisons between himself and fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

A stunning season for Alcaraz has seen him become the youngest world number one in ATP history at the age of 19.

He won two Masters 1000 titles and his maiden grand slam at the US Open in September.

Alcaraz was ruled out of the ATP Finals with an abdominal injury, but Nadal's elimination in Turin ensured Alcaraz would end 2022 as the youngest ever year-end number one.

Such accomplishments have seen him compared by some to countryman Nadal, who won the French Open aged just 19 in 2005 on his way to becoming one of the most decorated men's tennis players of all time.

But Alcaraz refuses to entertain such talk, instead speaking of his admiration at what the now 36-year-old Nadal had achieved over his long career.

"There is no point in comparing," Alcaraz told reporters. "It doesn't matter that now I am world number one, Rafa's entire career counts for a lot.

"It is a pleasure, for every tennis lover, to see Rafa on the court."

He added he hopes to achieve "at least half" of what Nadal has, in a career spanning over two decades and encompassing 22 grand slam titles.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, is trying to "regain strength before returning to the court" as he eyes the new season, and acknowledged he will start with a target on his back due to his 2022 success.

"The season is going to be difficult because I am going to start as the favourite," he explained. "There is going to be a lot of pressure on me.

"But I try to keep the good part and see that all this does not go to my head. In the end, beating your idols is an incredible achievement.

"I try to take it normally and never forget that whatever happens in the future, I have to enjoy tennis and play at my level."

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    But Novak, who is chasing a 10th grand slam title in Australia and a record-equalling 22nd men's singles major overall, believes the situation has been taken out of context.

    "There was no intention," Djokovic said after beating Paul. "You're basically asking me a question like he did it intentionally, like he's not being careful about what he's doing. 

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    "But it is what it is. You accept it and you move on."

    Elaborating on the incident, he said: "The photo that he made, he was passing through. I heard what he said in the video. He said 'cheers'. 

    "Unfortunately some of the media has interpreted that in a really wrong way. I'm sorry that that has escalated so much. 

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    Asked if he expects his father to be back in the stadium for Sunday's final, Djokovic said: "Let's see. It wasn't pleasant not to have him in the box today. 

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    Djokovic argued with the umpire and appeared to completely lose focus as he let a 5-1 lead slip in the opening set, but he responded well en route to a straight-sets victory.

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    "My father, my whole family, and myself, have been through several wars during the 90s. As my father said, we are against the war, we never will support any violence or any war. 

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    Tsitsipas is a player Djokovic has faced in a major final before, defeating the Greek at the 2021 French Open showpiece in a match where he had to come from sets down.

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    "Of course it does, winning grand slams and being number one are the two biggest peaks you can climb as a tennis player," he said. "Let's see what happens."

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