Every aspiring tennis player in Spain wants to emulate the 20-Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal. However, it’s unfair to compare any promising teenager with Nadal considering that is setting the bar very high.
But over the last few months, the 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz has been constantly compared to Nadal, which puts unnecessary added pressure on him. Alcaraz’s team keeps him calm though so that he doesn’t get weighed down by the expectations. Alcaraz booked his place in the main draw of the 2021 Australian Open after successfully making it through the qualifying rounds in Doha.
Alcaraz is coached by former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, who fully understands the gigantic task of being pitted against Nadal, having played the 13-time French Open champion nine times in his career. Hence, Ferrero doesn’t want any comparison between his pupil and an all-time great like Nadal.
In a recent interview, Ferrero talked about wanting Alcaraz to focus on his game irrespective of whether he achieves the No. 1 ranking or not. The 2003 French Open champion emphasized the importance of working hard and the results being a by-product of it.
“Comparisons are inevitable, we know, but the fewer there are the better. The comparison with Rafa is too beast, we all know that matching what Rafa has done is impossible, so we want him to be calm and to remain focused on tennis, regardless of whether he becomes top-10, No. 1, or N0. 18. The important thing is that it works well; the numbers and the results will come in the future,” said Ferrero.
It will be the first time Alcaraz will compete in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. He is the youngest player inside the top-200 ATP rankings and will enter the Australian Open against the backdrop of a successful 2020 season.
On the other hand, Nadal will aim to win a second title at Melbourne Park, since his first trophy back in 2009. Despite reaching the Australian Open final on four occasions over the last decade, Nadal has lost each time.