Carlos Alcaraz - Miami Open 2023

Carlos Alcaraz wants to build his ‘own history’ amid Rafael Nadal comparisons

Carlos Alcaraz has echoed the sentiment of his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, suggesting that he is not keen on the Rafael Nadal comparisons after defending his title in Barcelona.

Alcaraz beat Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-3 6-4, to retain his Barcelona Open crown and win his third ATP title of the season and ninth of his career.

With the 19-year-old’s success, particularly in Barcelona, Alcaraz is often compared to Nadal to which his Grand Slam winning coach has previously said he ‘doesn’t like’ due to the pressure that it puts on his player.

Alcaraz seems to have echoed this opinion after his final win yesterday, “As I’ve always said on more than one occasion, I don’t want to take over from anyone.”

Nadal has been on the injury sidelines since the Australian Open, and therefore missed the event where he is a 12-time champion for a second consecutive year.

While Alcaraz claims he was ‘lucky’ to win the title, he suggested that he would rather Nadal was participating at the biggest events.

“Speaking of this week, it’s been two years that Rafa hasn’t been there, I’ve been lucky, or let’s say I won’t win the title. But as I’ve always said, I’ve always wanted to play against the best,” said the US Open champion.

Alcaraz continued, “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.”

The Spaniard now heads to Madrid where he is also the defending champion and the top seed, and he has commented on what his goals are for his home Masters 1000 event.

“We always go to each tournament thinking that we can win, trying to do our best. Not winning Madrid would not be a failure for me, it depends on the level I have shown and the matches,” said Alcaraz.

The ATP No.2 added, “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.”

Carlos Alcaraz and his route to defending the Madrid title

Alcaraz became the first man to beat Nadal and Novak Djokovic back-to-back on clay last year in Madrid, before beating defending champion Alexander Zverev in the final.

Here is his potential route to retaining the title this year (based off rankings):

First Round – Received a bye

Second Round – Emil Ruusuvuori

Third Round – Grigor Dimitrov (26)

Fourth Round – Alexander Zverev (13)

Quarter-final – Andrey Rublev (5)

Semi-final – Casper Ruud (3)

Final – Daniil Medvedev (2)

The Madrid Open and the Italian Open are the last two events Alcaraz is entered into before he heads to Paris for the second major of the year.

“Roland Garros is a clear short-term goal,” said Alcaraz. “It is a tournament that I really want to win, but right now we are focused on Madrid and Rome.”

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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.