Carlos Alcaraz - Roland Garros 2023

Carlos Alcaraz compared to ‘idol’ Roger Federer by Rafael Nadal’s former coach

Carlos Alcaraz has been compared to the ‘superior’ Roger Federer in 2003 and 2004 by Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal, as he bids to reach his first Roland Garros final.

Alcaraz will play Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster semi-final clash this afternoon, in only a second-time meeting and the first between the pair at a major tournament.

The No.1 has only dropped only one set at the Paris major so far, and Rafael Nadal’s coach of 27 years has compared him to a now retired great.

“He reminds me of the superiority Federer showed in the end of 2003 & in 2004,” claimed Toni Nadal. “So crushing was his invincibility that we had to wait for a later generation for Roger to find himself in trouble. I sense it will be the same with Carlos.”

In 2003 and 2004 Federer won his first three Grand Slam titles, rose to the top of the world rankings and won the year-end ATP tour finals in consecutive years.

Alcaraz has previously spoken about how he idolised the Swiss as a child, and his disappointment not to have played him after Federer announced his retirement at the end of 2022.

“Federer, the class he had, the way he got people to see tennis: That was beautiful. Watching Federer is like looking at a work of art. It’s elegance, he did everything magnificently. I became enchanted by him,” Alcaraz explained.

The US Open champion added, “He’s one of my idols, not the only one – but obviously I would have loved to have had him as a rival. But it’s not going to be possible. He leaves a great legacy in the tennis world,” he said.

“Everybody knows him, everybody knows what he’s like: he’s magical, he’s talent(ed), watching him play is a worthy spectacle. Everybody loves him and appreciates him. What a pity it was when I heard the news, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Carlos Alcaraz - Instagram 2022

While Alcaraz will likely be flattered to be compared to his ‘idol’, he has recently spoken about his want to not be a copy of previous greats.

“Some people say that I have shots from Nadal, Djokovic and Federer but it’s normal cause those were the players that I watched for 20 years (his age),” said Alcaraz. “But I like to believe I’m 100% Alcaraz, not a copy of anyone”.

Carlos Alcaraz vs Roger Federer Career Achievements at 20

With Alcaraz being compared to Federer, we at Tennishead wanted to compare the two at the age of 20.

The Spaniard has only recently reached his second decade, so can still add to these numbers before he turns 21 next year, but our research appears to show he is currently ahead of the tennis legend.

Federer vs Alcaraz at 20:

Highest ranking

Federer – No.8 (20.05.2002)

Alcaraz – No.1 (12.09.2022)

ATP titles

Federer – 3 (Milan, Sydney, Hamburg)

Alcaraz – 10 (Umag, Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona (x2), Madrid (x2), US Open, Buenos Aires, Indian Wells)

Grand Slam titles

Federer – 0 (Best result: Quarter-final of Roland Garros and Wimbledon)

Alcaraz – 1 (US Open)

Masters 1000 titles

Federer – 1 (Hamburg)

Alcaraz – 4 (Miami, Madrid (x2), Indian Wells)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.