Carlos Alcaraz on Roger Federer: ‘He’s pure talent, class. I can only thank him for what he has given to tennis’

Roger Federer on the run

Carlos Alcaraz has paid tribute to Roger Federer following the tennis great’s retirement announcement, but the new world No 1 is getting a little tired of being constantly compared to the Big Three of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

After spending the best part of the past three years on the sidelines due to a knee injury, Federer confirmed last week that he is to end his professional career after this week’s Laver Cup in London.

It will bring the curtain down on a 24-year journey that started in 1998, yielded 20 Grand Slams, 310 weeks at the top of the ATP Rankings and numerous other records.

Alcaraz, who admitted before Federer’s announcement that he would love to play against the Swiss maestro before he called it a day, explained why he is such a big fan of the sporting icon.

“He’s pure talent, class and elegant. He’s lasted so long because of how he plays,” the Spaniard said during BMW Madrid press conference.

“He hasn’t retired in any match and I’ve already retired in one. It’s a gift they’ve brought us all sports fans, not just tennis. I’m proud to have watched him throughout my childhood.

“I wish I could last as long as he has and earn a quarter of what he has earned. I can only thank him for what he has given to tennis. I’ve always wanted to face him, it won’t be possible, but it’s better than leaving with a defeat.”

Alcaraz won his maiden Grand Slam a fortnight ago when he defeated Casper Ruud in the US Open final and his title run also ensured he surged to the top of the ATP Rankings for the first time.

Many believe he will go on to dominate tennis like Nadal, Djokovic and Federer, but he is not a fan of the constant comparisons with the Big Three.

“It’s not a pressure, I enjoy playing tennis and when I do it is when the results come. Many times I smile in tense moments in matches. Being on the court makes me enjoy myself,” he said.

“I don’t know why I’m getting compared to the Big Three. They have been there (on the Tour) for 20 years, they have won everything and I am starting. It does not make sense, I want to continue my way.’

“Comparing myself with the Big Three is that I have to improve day by day. They have been getting better day by day. That’s what I’m looking for.”

READ MORE: Carlos Alcaraz ‘had the luck’ due to Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer absence, but a worthy No 1