Rafael Nadal news: Aus Open champion happy there’s a new Spaniard on the block

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz shaking hands

Rafael Nadal has conceded that there is a new kid on the block who is looking to overtake him – and he’s is of course fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.

Alcaraz defeated the 21 time Grand Slam champion last week at the Madrid Open on his way to winning the title, but he has made the decision to give the Italian Open a miss which has given Nadal an opportunity to potentially win the tournament for the 11th time.

Although the 35-year-old isn’t showing any signs of retiring and is still hunting for more major titles, he believes this is the time for an upgrade in the form of Alcaraz.

“First, I think he is young, he is new and all the new things are much more interesting than older things, without a doubt when you see a new car, always looks better,” the 13 time French Open champion explained.

“When you see a new phone, always looks better than the old ones, so it’s something that is normal in this life.

“I can’t complain at all about that, at the same time I am happy to have somebody like him from my country achieving all the things that he is achieving.”

The Madrid Open marked Nadal’s return to court since the Indian Wells Masters as he sustained a rib injury during the California based competition, but he fully understands that getting older comes with it’s challenges.

“Of course at my age when you start having more problems than what you can manage of course it is tough – body issues, pains, you can manage that. The problem is when you start to feel that with all the things that’s going through your body, you can’t be competitive enough to fight for the things outside of my personal motivation,” Nadal revealed.

“I like what I do, honestly, I am not playing anymore for things outside of my happiness and for things outside of my personal motivation.

“For the moment I am happy, it is true that I went through, again, a tough period of time, but I am here to enjoy and to give myself a chance to play well here in Rome.”

Nadal kicks off his Italian Open campaign tomorrow.