ATP

Alcaraz wants to 'build own history', not 'take over' from Nadal

By Sports Desk April 24, 2023

Carlos Alcaraz wishes to build his "own history" rather than "take over" from fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal, having won the ninth title of his career at last week's Barcelona Open.

Alcaraz defended his crown in Catalonia by racing to a 6-3 6-4 win against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday's final, claiming his third title of the 2023 season. 

Like his legendary compatriot Nadal, Alcaraz won his first grand slam title at the age of 19, triumphing at the US Open last year.

His hopes of adding to that success at the upcoming French Open could be boosted by the misfortune of his rivals, with both Nadal and Novak Djokovic forced to withdraw from this week's Madrid Open as they battle injuries.

While comparisons between Alcaraz and Nadal are perhaps inevitable, the teenager is determined to do things his own way.

"As I've said on more than one occasion, I don't want to take over from anyone," he said after claiming his latest title. 

"I feel lucky to have so many people supporting me, transmitting that positive energy from the first game.

"Speaking of this week, it's been two years that Rafa hasn't been there [in Barcelona]. I've been lucky! But as I've always said, I've always wanted to play against the best.

"It is a pity that we have not been able to enjoy Rafa these last two years. Let's hope he continues playing for a long time and we can enjoy his tennis, but obviously we're not here to take over from anyone, but to build our own history."

With Nadal and Djokovic absent, Alcaraz will be the top seed as he looks to add a 10th career title in Madrid, but he does not see winning in the Spanish capital as the only measure of a successful campaign. 

"Not winning Madrid would not be a failure for me, it depends on the level I have shown and the matches," he said.

"All the players are very good, they can all win the title and they can beat me. For me, failure would depend on the level I show and the way I play."

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