ATP

'Stop comparing him to me' – Nadal refuses to pile pressure on Alcaraz

By Sports Desk May 11, 2022

Rafael Nadal wants the comparisons between himself and Carlos Alcaraz to stop as he hopes his compatriot will not come under too much pressure.

Alcaraz defeated Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev to win the Madrid Open last week.

The 19-year-old has a 28-3 record for the 2022 season and has risen to world number six in the ATP rankings, having won four tournaments this year.

His incredible form has drawn plenty of comparisons to Nadal, who was a teenager when he burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s.

Nadal bounced back from his defeat to Alcaraz by defeating John Isner at the Internazionali d'Italia on Wednesday.

The 21-time grand slam champion is going for an 11th title in Rome, but he could not avoid fielding questions about Alcaraz in his post-match news conference.

"I do not know. And I won't be able to talk every day about who will be or who is stronger that day, will I? I forgot what I was like," Nadal replied when asked who he thought was a better player at the age of 19 out of himself and Alcaraz.

 

"The only thing we can do is enjoy the career of an extraordinary player like Carlos. But stop comparing him to me. 

"If he manages to win 25 grand slams, it will be fantastic for him and for our country. But let him enjoy his personal career. I have enjoyed my personal career.

"Probably in 2005, I wouldn't have said about myself that I was great, but I thought I was good enough. That's all. Different moments. Different careers. A different way of approaching things because times are changing.

"But let's enjoy it. We don't [need to] put further pressure on him. Don't ask me every time, because I'll always tell you the same thing. 

"It's good for our sport. Honestly, in a selfish way, as a viewer, to have someone like Carlos who will enjoy their career for the next few years is fantastic.

"But now I'm still playing. I am focused on trying to do the things I have to do. That's all."

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Venus Williams makes surprise appearance on eve of tournament Wimbledon: Venus Williams makes surprise appearance on eve of tournament

    Five-time singles champion Venus Williams showed up at Wimbledon on the eve of the championships, sparking speculation over what role she will play.

    The 42-year-old American has played just one tournament since losing to Ons Jabeur in the second round at Wimbledon last year.

    That lone appearance came at the Chicago Open in August, when she was beaten in her opening match by Hsieh Su-wei.

    Williams has not made a retirement announcement, and it may be that she intends to play an active part in Wimbledon, although she has not entered the women's singles or women's doubles.

    The American great has seven grand slams among her 49 career singles titles and has won six Wimbledon doubles crowns with sister Serena Williams, among their 14 slams as sport's greatest sister act.

    One avenue that may be open to Venus is mixed doubles. She was not listed on Wimbledon's entry list for the invitational doubles, an event for veterans. The mixed doubles line-up has yet to be revealed.

    Williams was pictured at Wimbledon by a Getty photographer at the All England Club, carrying a red sports bag, and later in the evening posted on Instagram that she was at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at London Stadium.

    Serena has entered the singles on a wildcard, having made her competitive comeback on doubles duty alongside Jabeur at Eastbourne after being absent from the tour since last year's Wimbledon. She is a seven-time singles champion at London's grass-court grand slam.

  • Wimbledon: Djokovic hoping for Nadal clash as he seeks revenge for Roland Garros defeat Wimbledon: Djokovic hoping for Nadal clash as he seeks revenge for Roland Garros defeat

    Novak Djokovic would be delighted by the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final, as he targets revenge for his French Open loss to the Spaniard.

    Nadal remains on course for a calendar Grand Slam after following up January's Australian Open victory with his 14th French Open title earlier this month, having overcome Djokovic in a quarter-final classic on the clay in Paris.

    The Spaniard's Roland Garros triumph moved him two clear of Djokovic's tally of 20 grand slam titles, while his last-eight win over the Serbian was his 29th in the pair's head-to-head rivalry (Djokovic has 30 wins).

    With 59 career meetings, the duo have met one another more often than any other men's pairing in the Open Era, and they could be set for a final showdown at Wimbledon after landing on opposite sides of the draw.

    Speaking to Sky Sports, defending Wimbledon champion Djokovic said he would relish such a contest and insisted Nadal, who has not triumphed on the grass in London since 2010, is among the favourites to take home the title.

     

    "If we get to face each other it means we're both in the finals, which I think we both want," Djokovic said.

    "It's a very long way [away], but of course you have to put him as one of the favourites, even though he hasn't played at Wimbledon for the last three years [including the cancelled 2020 edition], I think.

    "But still, he's Nadal, he has achieved what he has achieved throughout his career and also this year, of course, which gives you a lot of confidence in his case.

    "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of great matches ahead for both of us, and if we get to face [each other] in the final… I'd love to face him in the final and get revenge for Paris!"

    Nadal has beaten Djokovic in 11 of the duo's 18 grand slam meetings, although the Serbian holds a 2-1 advantage over their three Wimbledon contests, triumphing in the 2011 final and the 2018 semi-finals.

    Djokovic begins his Wimbledon campaign by facing Kwon Soon-woo on Centre Court on Monday, with Nadal taking on Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo the following day.

  • Wimbledon: No panic from Halep as former champion bids to reclaim title Wimbledon: No panic from Halep as former champion bids to reclaim title

    Simona Halep is confident she would know how to handle a Wimbledon panic attack after her traumatic recent Roland Garros experience.

    The former world number one is ready for her first return to action at the All England Club since landing the 2019 title, having missed out last year due to a calf injury.

    With the 2020 championships cancelled due to the pandemic, it has been a three-year wait for Halep to make another SW19 appearance, and plenty has changed in her life since then.

    She married last year and has a high-profile new coach in Patrick Mouratoglou, who helped to guide the career of Serena Williams for almost a decade.

    Last month saw Halep suffer an on-court panic attack during a shock second-round defeat to Zheng Qinwen at the French Open, and she was quick to speak about the episode immediately after the match, determined it would be an important step in moving on.

    "Hopefully it doesn't happen again because I didn't like it," Halep said in a news conference on Sunday, a day ahead of Wimbledon getting under way.

    "It was coming from nowhere because I was leading the match. Probably just the pressure of the tournament, the fact that I struggled last year. I didn't believe that I'm strong enough, probably.

    "But now I feel stronger, and I feel that if it's going to happen again, I will know how to handle it.

    "It's never easy. It was really tough to handle it. But lately everyone goes through this, with all the situation in the world. I will not be hard on myself that I was weak in that match.

    "I just take it as an experience and as a lesson, so next time I'll be better."

    Halep has a tough Wimbledon opener against Karolina Muchova, an unseeded player who has reached the quarter-finals in the past two editions of the tournament.

    That match will take place on Tuesday, but it will not open up play on Centre Court.

    That is usually the honour afforded to the defending champion, but Ash Barty has retired since beating Karolina Pliskova in last year's final.

    Some felt that Halep, having missed out last year when she would have been returning to defend the title, should have been given the opening slot this year; however, Wimbledon announced the privilege will go to world number one Iga Swiatek.

    "I feel sad that I missed it because I was injured and didn't get the chance," Halep said. "Hopefully I can have another chance, so I can look forward to that."

    She will need to win another Wimbledon title for that to happen and will hope the tie-up with Mouratoglou helps her achieve that ambition.

    Mouratoglou said in an Instagram post that Halep's results in the clay-court season were "insufficient" for a player of her quality and said he would "take full responsibility" for those.

    "I was surprised, shocked that he did the post and took everything on him," Halep said. "But it was not on him, it was me; I was not able to do better and to calm down myself when I panicked. It was new for me as well, and I was not good enough. We are much better after that day.

    "We both probably learned some things about each other, and now we will handle better situations like those."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.