ATP

Alcaraz must ignore Nadal comparisons to avoid hindering career

By Sports Desk March 11, 2024

Carlos Alcaraz must ignore the comparisons to fellow Spanish tennis great Rafael Nadal otherwise it will "hinder his career".

That was the message from former Dutch player Richard Krajicek, who won the Wimbledon men's singles title back in 1996.

Alcaraz triumphed at Wimbledon last year as well, his second major title after winning the US Open in 2022.

Though veteran Nadal has some 22 grand slam titles to his name, two behind the ever-reliant and ruthless Novak Djokovic, comparisons continue to be drawn between the two Spaniards.

"If he starts to think about it or live up to it or try to beat it, then it will hinder his career," Krajicek said of the similarities between Nadal and Alcaraz.

"His name is Carlos Alcaraz, he said it himself and he's not the new Nadal. Nadal is a legend and he's going to do what he has to do.

"I think by winning two grand slams, being number one, I don't think he feels any pressure or like, 'I have to do this or this'. He's improved already so much.

"I don't think he has too much to prove and he's just playing for the love of the game and he's going to win many more Grand Slams and he will be number one for many weeks also."

An athletic, bustling right-hander Alcaraz has the pure power, mixed with delicate control, to trouble major-title contenders for the next decade or so.

However, Krajicek says it is Alcaraz's passion for the sport that is most impressive.

"I like everything about this game. I mean, he's physically good, he's fast, I love his mentality on the court. Also like Rafa, very humble person, and he can do it all," he added.

"He can play, he plays from the base, and he's got a big forehand, he's got a very good touch on the drop shot. He can volley. Yeah, and he really loves the game.

"When he played the US Open and it was a really important point, and they were playing for number one in the world. It was one set all, Alcaraz loses the point, but the point was unbelievable, and Alcaraz smiled to his box 'Wow, I just played a great point and I love this game'.

"So for me, then I became a fan. I'm like, 'Wow, you really love this game'. So that's so great to see."

Related items

  • Gauff recovers from slow start to overcome Zidansek at Roland Garros Gauff recovers from slow start to overcome Zidansek at Roland Garros

    Coco Gauff booked her place in the French Open third round with another straight-sets victory over Tamara Zidansek.

    The third seed is yet to drop a set at Roland Garros in her opening two matches, but was made to work for her 6-3 6-4 win over the former Roland Garros semi-finalist.

    Zidansek broke in the opening game on the way to a 3-1 lead, but Gauff broke back in game six, and again in game eight on the way to drawing first blood.

    The players exchanged two breaks apiece to leave the set finely poised at 4-4, until the American's crucial break in the ninth game paved the way for victory.

    The 2022 runner-up will play either Dayana Yastremska or Wang Yafan in round three.

    Data Debrief: Gauff matches Evert

    The 20-year-old has now registered 17 match wins at the French Open. That is as many as the great Chris Evert managed before turning 21.

    In fact, only Kathy Rinaldi Stunkel and Mary Joe Fernandez have registered more victories amongst American women before the age of 21.

  • Swiatek survives huge Osaka scare in French Open thriller Swiatek survives huge Osaka scare in French Open thriller

    Iga Swiatek survived a huge scare before eventually seeing off Naomi Osaka in a thrilling second-round clash at the French Open.

    After winning the opening set, the reigning champion was pegged back by her Japanese opponent, and trailed 4-1 in the decider before saving match point at 5-3 behind.

    However, she dug deep to prevail 7-6 (7-1) 1-6 7-5 as Court Philippe-Chatrier was treated to a blockbuster battle of the four-time major winners.

    The opening set went the distance with Swiatek eventually dominating the tie-break to draw first blood. However, Osaka broke at the start of the second as she came roaring back to level the contest.

    The world number 134 built on that momentum, saving several break points while also breaking her opponent for a commanding 4-1 advantage.

    She then reached match point at 40-30 in game nine, and stood on the brink of becoming only the third player to beat Swiatek at Roland Garros after Simona Halep and Maria Sakkari.

    However, a trio of untimely backhand errors - two into the net and one long - allowed the top seed to survive and break back, and she did not look back from there.

    Osaka double-faulted at the end of game 11 to hand Swiatek another break at 6-5 up, and she successfully held out for victory after her opponent sent a forehand wide.

    Data Debrief: Swiatek matches Steffi and Seles

    It was touch and go at one point but, at 22 years and 363 days old, Swiatek is the third-youngest player after Monica Seles and Steffi Graf to win 16 consecutive matches at the French Open during the Open Era.

    Meanwhile, the Pole has now won 69 of her 70 completed WTA main-draw matches on clay after winning the opening set.

  • Alcaraz passes stern De Jong test to advance at French Open Alcaraz passes stern De Jong test to advance at French Open

    Carlos Alcaraz survived a stern examination of his French Open credentials as he overcame qualifier Jesper de Jong in four sets to reach the third round on Wednesday.

    The Wimbledon champion looked set for another routine victory when he raced into a two-set lead, but the 23-year-old Dutchman refused to go quietly in a gruelling three-hour, 11-minute contest decided by a 6-3 6-4 2-6 6-2 scoreline.

    De Jong, ranked 176th in the world, was given a standing ovation after a brave performance which had Alcaraz on the ropes, finding joy with a series of inventive drop shots.

    The momentum seemed to be with him when he claimed an early break in the fourth set, but Alcaraz broke straight back, rediscovering his composure following an angry outburst at his box.

    Alcaraz then made it successive breaks as De Jong began to tire, with a series of unforced errors proving costly as the Spaniard took the contest away from him.

    Data Debrief: Alcaraz passes important test

    Should Alcaraz go on to win his third grand slam title at Roland Garros, he may well look back on Wednesday's match as an important milestone as he was pushed to his limits after an injury-affected few weeks.

    He has now won 13 of his first 16 singles matches at the French Open, and either Sebastian Korda or Kwon Soon-woo will await him in the third round.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.