Carlos Alcaraz labelled ‘the best’ ahead of ‘tough rival’ Jannik Sinner by legendary coach

Ewan West
Carlos Alcaraz at the 2023 ATP Finals
Carlos Alcaraz reacts at the 2023 ATP Finals

Toni Nadal has proclaimed that he is not concerned by the form of Carlos Alcaraz as he described the Spaniard as “the best” and urged fans to “continue trusting” him. 

The tennis coaching great believes Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner will continue to be a “tough rival” for Alcaraz and thinks there will be “great confrontations between the two.”

Alcaraz and Sinner are the two leading young players in the men’s game and are the only current ATP players under the age of 28 to win Grand Slam titles.

The Spaniard has already achieved great success in his short career, having secured two majors and become the youngest player to be ranked ATP world No 1 after winning the 2022 US Open.

The 20-year-old has endured a more difficult spell since his stunning victory at the 2023 Wimbledon Championships in July – which was the last title he won. The world No 2 reached his only final since his All England Club victory at the Cincinnati Masters in August.

From around the same time Alcaraz’s dip started, Sinner has reached a new level and had the best period of his career. After reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, Sinner won titles in Toronto, Beijing Vienna, was a runner-up at the ATP Finals in Turin, and led Italy to Davis Cup glory to end his season.

The Italian has continued his sublime form into 2024 as he claimed the Australian Open title to win his maiden Grand Slam crown last month, before winning the Rotterdam Open this month. The 22-year-old, who is on a 15-match winning streak, is at a career-high ranking of world No 3.

READ MORE: ‘Special’ Carlos Alcaraz labelled the French Open favourite by former world No 3

In an interview with AS, Nadal addressed whether he feels Sinner is now ready to fight “face to face” with Alcaraz and world No 1 Novak Djokovic.

“I think so. It’s already one more [player at the top]. In Sinner, from now on, Alcaraz will have a tough rival. He already was before, but after winning, he has extra confidence. And I think we will see great confrontations between the two,” the 63-year-old said.

The Spaniard was also asked if he feels Alcaraz is going through a bad moment or if there is a more specific issue following his Australian Open loss to Alexander Zverev last month.

“No, Alcaraz is very young. I think he is the best. And well, he gave up a match there with Zverev that he could lose. You have to continue trusting him. I believe that he will continue to bring a lot of joy to Spanish tennis,” he assessed.

Nadal then spoke about the general situation of men’s tennis in Spain, with the nation currently having fewer players in the top 100 than they have grown accustomed to.

“I think, first, there is a generational change. Spain has somewhat lost the vibe of that chain it had whereby one great champion was succeeded by another,” he added.

“And there were many players in the top 100. Now that has diminished. Tennis has changed. It is a sport where great power is required. Most of the players are very tall. This makes it difficult and causes Spain to not have as many players as before.”

Toni Nadal coached his nephew Rafael Nadal from his childhood until 2017, helping him win 16 of his 22 Grand Slam titles. He is the director of the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca and has also been working with ATP player Felix Auger-Aliassime since 2021.

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