‘Comparing Carlos Alcaraz with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer is not reality’

Ewan West
Carlos Alcaraz looks on at the Australian Open
Carlos Alcaraz reacts during a match

Samuel Lopez believes that comparisons between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are “very nice” for the Spaniard, but unrealistic. 

Lopez, a member of Alcaraz’s coaching team, feels the 20-year-old is similar to his legendary compatriot Nadal in some ways, but different in terms of mentality.

The Spanish coach trained Alcaraz’s main coach, former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, and now works at the Juan Carlos (JC) Ferrero Tennis Academy in Alicante, Spain.

The 54-year-old also coaches Pablo Carreno Busta and previously worked with retired Spanish ATP pros Nicolas Almagro and Guillermo Garcia Lopez.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Alcaraz has drawn various comparisons to each of the Big Three of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer since his rise to the top of tennis.

After losing to Alcaraz in an epic 2023 Wimbledon final, Djokovic gave the current world No 2 high praise by claiming he combines the best qualities from the legendary trio.

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In an interview with The Times of India, Lopez played down the suggestion Alcaraz should be likened to the three tennis legends.

“I think that Djokovic needed to say something about Carlos [after the Wimbledon final]. Maybe it is an unbelievable comparison, it is very nice for Carlos, but it’s not reality,” the Spaniard said.

“Of course, Alcaraz has the level, like [Jannik] Sinner, but for the moment, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are the kings. Carlos is a prince. You need to fight, to continue and maybe one day you can be a king like them.”

The coach also addressed the inevitable comparisons between Alcaraz and his great countryman Nadal and identified the ways the duo are both similar and different.

“They are Spanish, have good fitness, and they play with power. But Carlos is a little different from Rafa. For me, Rafa is the number one in the history in mentality,” Lopez continued.

“Carlos, for me, is a different number one. He likes to play many times for the public, for a spectacle. It’s impossible to win 14 times at Roland Garros. That’s crazy.

“Maybe he is not going to win 20 Grand Slams, because you need that competition. Carlos, now with Sinner, has a very good rivalry. With [Holger] Rune, with [Alexander] Zverev, [Daniil] Medvedev. This is a nice rivalry for tennis.”

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